Thursday, August 18, 2022

England 0-0 Scotland: Key Talking Points After A Sluggish Night At Wembley

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 19 Jun 2021

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While England might have opened Friday’s all-British showdown at Wembley confident of booking their spot out of Group D, it was a lacklustre night in the capital for The Three Lions.

Putting in a sluggish display and with Gareth Southgate’s second-half subs coming under real scrutiny, The Whites had to settle for a 0-0 stalemate on home soil and a performance that raised plenty of eyebrows.

Lucky to have left Wembley with their unbeaten record still intact and booed off by large sections of their home support after Friday’s uninspiring draw in the capital, we have taken a look at the major talking points as England stuttered their way to a point.

England avoid a banana skin

Landing themselves a 1-0 win when they opened their Group D campaign with a 1-0 win against Croatia last weekend, many felt that England would have cruised their way into the knockout stage with a routine display on home soil.

However, while The Three Lions might have seen John Stones hit the post after just 11 minutes following a corner from Mason Mount, Gareth Southgate’s side drastically failed to build off of their early pressure and instead left Wembley lucky to have a point on the board.

Failing to gain any real foothold on proceedings after seeing both Stones and Mount go close in the opening stages, The Whites showed glimpsed of the same problems that they had prior to their success out in Russia three years ago.

In fact, Friday’s stalemate was England’s 17th goalless draw at a major tournament (Euros + World Cup), two more than any other team in the history of those competitions.

Kane goes missing again

Heading into this summer’s delayed European Championships by lifting the Premier League’s Golden Boot for the third time, many expected Harry Kane to enjoy a similar tournament that saw him top the scoring charts out in Russia.

However, by far England’s least effective player when Southgate’s side opened their campaign with a 1-0 win against Croatia last weekend, it was another forgetful night for the Tottenham marksman.

Unable to get anything out of Scotland’s rugged back three and once again cutting a lonely figure up top, the 27-year-old was constantly starved of any possession and could only muster a single touch in The Scots’ box in the opening 45 minutes.

With his future at Tottenham still up in the air and many wondering if he is fully fit, there is no doubt that England are reliant on their main attacking source finding some much-needed form sooner rather than later.

Scotland show their heart

While England’s performance and Southgate’s second-half substitutions might have put a dampener on their opening weekend victory against Croatia, Scotland managed to immediately bounce back from their 2-0 loss at the hands of the Czech Republic in Glasgow.

Despite seeing Stones hit the post and Mount go close early on, Steve Clarke’s plucky side saw themselves really grow into the match as they faced off against their old enemy for the first time at a major tournament since Euro 1996.

Although The Tartan Army might have shown their excitement at the final whistle, the former Kilmarnock boss saw his side come within striking distance of landing what would have been a famous night south of the border.

With Stephen O’Donnell forcing Jordan Pickford into a stellar first-half stop and Lyndon Dykes having his shot cleared off the line, Scotland still have it all to play for as they meet Croatia for their final Group D meeting next week.

Match Report

England: Pickford (7), James (6), Stones (6.5), Mings, (6), Shaw (6), Phillips (5), Rice (5), Mount (6.5), Sterling (4), Kane (4), Foden (7)

Subs: Grealish (6), Rashford (6)

Scotland: Marshall (7), McTominay (7.5), Hanley (7.5), Tierney (7.5), O’Donnell (7), Gilmour (8), McGregor (7), Robertson (8), McGinn (7.5), Adams (7), Dykes (6.5)

Subs: Armstrong (7), Nisbet (N/A)

Goals: N/A

Yellow Cards: O’Donnell, McGinn

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan



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