Spurs connection could be England's spark at Euros, says Neil Humphreys
Pochettino's kids could end Three Lions' title drought in France
(Toni Kroos 43, Mario Gomez 57)
(Harry Kane 61, Jamie Vardy 74, Eric Dier 90+1)
For the first time since Euro 1996, a manager may play a decisive role in England challenging for a major trophy.
He currently coaches Tottenham Hotspur, but let's not split hairs.
Mauricio Pochettino should find a bottle of something expensive on his desk this morning, with a gushing gift tag from a grateful Roy Hodgson.
It seems almost unfair, but the bumbling, occasionally Jurassic, England manager had been handed the core of an adventurous side, a polished template and a swashbuckling Argentine aesthetic just in time for Euro 2016.
England's 3-2 win over Germany at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin yesterday morning (Singapore time) was a testament to the astute thinkers changing the face of the national game.
The uncompromising work ethic and counter-pressing philosophies of Pochettino, Juergen Klopp and even Claudio Ranieri were on display in Berlin, particularly in the second half.
In some ways, Hodgson barely deserves such luck, particularly when he's been handed a winning doctrine on a silver platter and still cannot resist the temptation to return to his cracked rice bowl.
Recent form suggested he had to go for broke against Germany, by flooding his side with Tottenham youngsters and Leicester greyhounds.
Naturally, he was only willing to meet recklessness halfway.
In the first half, maybe even the opening hour, the Three Lions were a confusing hybrid between Hodgson's old, stale, tentative England and the new, youthful, faster England almost imposed upon him.
The Three Lions weren't sure whether to stick or twist, like Clark Kent in a restricted phone box not fully able to change into Superman.
Hodgson picked four out of five Tottenham candidates, leaving Kyle Walker on the bench, and Nathaniel Clyne was not always on the same wavelength as the excellent Danny Rose on the other flank.
The tried-and-tested Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana were selected ahead of more exciting possibilities in Jamie Vardy and Ross Barkley. Neither forward flourished.
And Danny Drinkwater, surprisingly, never made it onto the pitch, leaving Jordan Henderson to provide industry, but little inspiration.
But Dele Alli started. And he was a revelation.
When Sami Khedira, a World Cup winner, slips into the deepest nightmares, he will see the 19-year-old coming after him, mugging him, humiliating him.
Alli's performance defied his international inexperience, but not his domestic pedigree.
His display was designed at White Hart Lane by a manager whose reputation is now enhanced by both Tottenham and England matches.
Rose's first England cap ensured that 11 of England's last 19 debutants have spent time learning their craft under Pochettino's watchful eye, either at Southampton or Spurs, a quite extraordinary statistic.
Without anyone noticing at the time, Pochettino was quietly turning England into a European force on the training grounds of two previously unremarkable clubs.
For almost an hour, Hodgson didn't. Or he only half knew. Or his usual conservatism held him back.
CLUB TO COUNTRY
But, in the final 30 minutes, he fully succumbed to the philosophies of the foreign managers revolutionising the Three Lions on his behalf.
Vardy and Barkley were sent on and the irrepressible surge began. The youngsters charged at Germany like kids let loose in a sweet shop.
Rose, Eric Dier, Harry Kane and the omnipresent Alli followed their manager's orders, but played in the spirit of their absent leader.
Vardy revelled in a roving role, scoring with a delightful piece of improvisational brilliance, either side of Kane's Cruyff-like turn and finish and Dier's header.
All three deserved to see their name up in lights. All three should be starters at Euro 2016. Hodgson risks inciting a riot if Wayne Rooney gets anywhere near the starting 11 now.
He must finish what other managers have started and go even further. Drinkwater deserves his cap against Holland on Wednesday morning and a chance of challenging Henderson.
But the defence warrants the most serious attention.
The flat back four epitomised a manager seemingly at war with himself.
On current form, Gary Cahill had to be benched in favour of John Stones, but Hodgson couldn't help himself. His aversion to all-out risk remained, as if he had exhausted his recklessness in attack.
So he played safe in defence and almost paid the price.
Cahill lost Mario Gomez for his goal in the 57th minute and a static back line offered an unwanted flashback to recent tournament failures.
There's no time for half-measures now. England's second-half showing rewarded Hodgson's bravery, but the boldness should be extended to the defence.
Bring in Stones alongside Chris Smalling and allow Kyle Walker to maximise the Tottenham connection for England's gain.
The Three Lions will then look like a side capable of challenging at Euro 2016, a side picked by Hodgson but largely built by Pochettino.
"Buzzing for @ericdier scoring the winner! Not happy about him laughing at my miss though."
— Dele Alli tweeting to congratulate Eric Dier for scoring his first England goal
- GERMANY: Manuel Neuer, Emre Can, Antonio Ruediger, Mats Hummels (Jonathan Tah 46), Jonas Hector, Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Thomas Mueller (Lukas Podolski 75), Mesut Oezil, Marco Reus (Andre Schuerrle 64), Mario Gomez (Mario Goetze 80)
- ENGLAND: Jack Butland (Fraser Forster 45+1), Nathaniel Clyne, Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Danny Welbeck (Jamie Vardy 71), Dele Alli, Adam Lallana (Ross Barkley 71), Harry Kane.
What they say
"(England) surprised me completely. When you see the team, young players but players who like to win and give their best for their country. This is a team who have a big chance, when they play like they did today, to be one of the best teams in the world in three years."
- Lothar Matthaeus, Germany's 1990 World Cup-winning captain says England can be one of the best teams in the world in three years
SPURS ARE SUPER
"With my Spurs connections, I'm obviously delighted to have seen four players from the club make a big contribution. Harry Kane and Eric Dier scored and Alli should have done with a late open goal, it was possibly the only thing he did wrong all night.
"Harry's 'Cruyff turn' was poignant as well, given the great man's passing last week. The fourth Tottenham player Danny Rose was as good as anybody."
- Glenn Hoddle impressed with the four Tottenham players who featured in England's win over Germany
"A good performance in the quarter-final and possibly a semi-final at least, I think we're absolutely looking at that in a Euro competition.
"Anything less than that would be extremely disappointing for the squad, the players and the fans, and people like myself who are huge fans of England."
- Sir Geoff Hurst, England's 1966 World Cup hero, believes anything less than reaching the semi-finals would be a disappointment at Euro 2016
ROOM FOR ROONEY
"Harry Kane is about to make the breakthrough at the very highest level.
"The problem for Roy Hodgson is how he gets both Rooney and Kane into his starting line-up... if that is what he wants.
"So if Hodgson wants to start with both Kane and Rooney, it probably means that Wayne would have to play at No. 10."
- Thierry Henry says Roy Hodgson faces a challenge to accommodate both Rooney and Kane in his England team for Euro 2016
England's other big wins over Germany
England 4 West Germany 2 (after extra-time) - 1966 World Cup final
The Germans led 1-0, went behind 2-1 and forced extra time with an 89th-minute equaliser, but England secured their only major trophy, after Geoff Hurst completed his hat-trick with two strikes - the first of which sparked a goal-line controversy.
England 1 Germany 0 - Euro 2000 group stage
Alan Shearer's stooping header from David Beckham's free-kick settled a dire match in Charleroi, Belgium, and earned England their first competitive win over Germany since the 1966 World Cup final. Both failed to make it out of the group though.
Germany 1 England 5 - World Cup qualifier in 2001
England bounced back emphatically after falling behind to an early goal by Carsten Jancker, with Michael Owen netting a hat-trick and Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey also getting on the scoresheet.
- PA Sport.