Group D has officially come to an end and while Scotland may be on their way home, the other three nations in the group can look forward to pastures new in the Round of 16. Last night, at the home of English football, England ensured that they finished top with a professional 1-0 win over Czech Republic thanks to Raheem Sterling’s early goal.
Is Southgate listening?
That was England’s best first half in this tournament by a country mile and while things did drop off a bit in the second, there was definitely more of a push to try and get that second goal than in the Croatia game. In addition to that, Gareth Southgate seemed to be eager to test out new strategies and players with Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham all playing a role and Jadon Sancho even managing to get a 10-minute cameo.
They may have won their opener with some strong counter attacking play, but the Czech Republic will consider themselves lucky that they were awarded such a questionable penalty against Croatia. Patrik Schick was frustrated all night long and now, they’re left to see who they’ll come up against as one of the best third-placed teams. Perhaps England just did a great job of neutralising them, but in equal measure, they fell short of the expectations that were created when they managed to beat Scotland – which is something they need to try and fix ASAP.
Three down, four to go
England are clearly taking things one game at a time which is a conservative but smart approach from Gareth Southgate. They’ve won two and drawn one of their three fixtures thus far, scoring twice alongside two clean sheets. It’s efficient but the Three Lions are hardly setting the world on fire, despite many believing they have the ability necessary to do just that. They know that they’ll be in for a fight regardless of who they play in the Round of 16, but whether it’s France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary, we still think England should be looked at as having a real chance – especially with it being at Wembley.
Czech Republic: Vaclik (6.5), Boril (6), Kalas (6), Celustka (6.5), Coufal (7), Soucek (6.5), Holes (6.5), Jankto (6), Darida (6), Masopust (6.5), Schick (6), Hlozek (6), Kral (6), Sevcik (6), Vydra (6), Pekhart (6)
England: Pickford (7), Walker (7), Stones (7), Maguire (7.5), Shaw (7.5), Phillips (6.5), Rice (6), Saka (7), Grealish (7), Sterling (7), Kane (7), Bellingham (6), Sancho (6), Rashford (6.5), Mings (6), Henderson (6)
Referee: Artur Manuel Soares Dias
Yellow Cards: Boril
Red Cards: N/A
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