Zdeněk Ondrášek enjoyed a dream international debut as he inflicted England’s first qualifying defeat in over ten years with a 2-1 win to in Prague on Friday evening.
Harry Kane gave the Three Lions are quickfire lead as he took scored from the penalty spot in just the fifth minute. It only took a few minutes for the hosts to find their equaliser though as Jakub Brabec took advantage from some defensive chaos in the England ranks to net from a corner. The headlines then switched to Ondrasek as he came off the bench to fire the hosts to a memorable win in the closing stages of the match.
Perfect start for England but Czech Republic hit back
Despite the result, England were given a brilliant opportunity to open the scoring early on as Raheem Sterling was tripped in the penalty area. Kane took responsibility and stroked the ball straight down the centre of goal.
The hosts could have drawn level very quickly as the fell to Lukáš Masopust and he tested Jordan Pickford with a great effort the looked to be arrowing towards the bottom corner.
Their goal did come though and it was another bit of sloppy defending from England. From a corner, they failed to clear their lines with the ball falling to Brabec. The defender made no mistake as he stabbed the ball home.
Poor performance from the Three Lions
Following the hosts’ strike, they seemed to find extra motivation and dominated the opening period and the majority of the chances. Masopust again had another opportunity to score as he was picked out at the back post but dragged his shot horribly wide.
England continued to struggle during the second-half but a good interception from Sevilla goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík prevented Sterling from advancing any further and seemingly tapping the ball into the net.
Pickford then also made an important save as he tipped over Masopust’s brilliant long-range effort.
Hosts score deserved winner
The Czech Republic continued to look the most dangerous as the game wore on. Alex Král was the next to have an opportunity as he raced into the penalty area and aimed for the near post, only for Pickford to leap across his lined and palm the ball away.
They then scored a winning goal that looked like it was coming throughout the second-half. Masopust raced down the left-flank and picked out Ondrasek, who was making his international debut. Afforded the freedom of the penalty area, the FC Dallas forward stayed cool to steer the ball into the bottom corner to secure a fantastic result for the Czech Republic.
England were really never in this match. Despite taking the lead early on, Gareth Southgate’s troops were second best throughout the game. They really struggled to create any chances and this will probably go down as the Three Lions boss’ worst day in charge. They will hope to bounce back against Bulgaria on Monday evening.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic were brilliant. Their defensive performance was eye-catching and silenced their opponents. They now join England at the top of the qualifying group at 12 points.
Czech Republic: Vaclik (7); Boril (6), Brabec (7), Celustka (6), Djimsiti (6); Kral (7), Soucek (7); Jankto (7) (Kopic (N/A), 83′), Darida (6), Masopust (8) (Zmrhal (N/A), 90′); Schick (7) (Ondrasek (7), 65′).
England: Pickford (6); Rose (5), Maguire (6), Keane (5), Trippier (6); Rice (5) (Abraham (N/A), 88′), Henderson (6), Mount (5) (Barkley (5), 72′); Sterling (6), Kane (6), Sancho (6) (Rashford (5), 72′).
Goals: Kane PEN (5′), Brabec (9′), Ondrasek (85′)
Referee: Damir Skomina
Yellow Cards: Jankto (8′), Rose (10′), Sterling (68′), Henderson (90+2′)
Red Cards: N/A
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