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Kane calls for calm but accepts England not good enough

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Jun 2024

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Harry Kane called for some perspective following England’s 1-1 Euro 2024 draw against Denmark but accepts his side were not good enough.

England failed to build on a 1-0 win over Serbia in their Group C opener as they saw Kane’s opener cancelled out by Morten Hjulmand in Thursday’s match in Frankfurt.

Gareth Southgate’s side once again failed to push on after taking the lead in a game and supporters made their frustrations known.

The draw means England have still yet to ever win their first two matches at a European Championship, with their place in the last 16 not yet certain.

And Kane – the third man to score at four different major tournaments for England along with Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney – admits an improvement is needed.

“We’re struggling with and without the ball,” he told BBC Sport. “The pressing in both games hasn’t been quite right, and with the ball we haven’t been good enough – that’s from top to bottom, from me to Picks (Jordan Pickford).

“It was tough out there with the heat and the pitch. It wasn’t our greatest game but we got away with a draw.

“There’s no easy games at major tournaments and I think that’s being shown. There are levels we can reach, with and without the ball, but it’s a sign of a good team that you can get results when you’re not playing well.”

England sit top of Group C with four points from two matches and will guarantee a place in the knockouts with a draw against Slovenia on Tuesday, while a win sees them through in top spot.

“We’re top of the group and we’ve all but qualified,” added Kane, who was substituted with 20 minutes to go. “I know there’ll be loads of noise and a bit of disappointment at home, but we experienced this when we drew with Scotland in the last Euros.

“It’s a time to stay calm, reflect and try to improve. Step by step, we’ll get there.”

Kane’s opener was his fifth goal at the Euros, making him the first England player and the eighth from any country to score five or more in both this competition and the World Cup.

However, Hjulmand levelled 16 minutes later with a shot from 30 yards – his first goal for Denmark in all competitions on what was his ninth appearance – and England could not find a response of their own.

Southgate’s side dropped deep after going in front, as they did against Serbia and have done in recent tournaments, and Kane believes that is an area that needs working on.

“It’s not just when we score that [we drop deep],” he said. “It’s something we need to get better at. When the teams drop a few players deeper, we’re not sure how who’s supposed to be pressing.

“In the second half we tried to change it a bit with me and Jude [Bellingham] playing in front of their two midfielders and then trying to get up. But it was difficult. Credit to Denmark, they’re a really good side and they carried a threat.”

England have now won just two of their past eight competition meetings with Denmark, and this most recent result means they are unable to rest up against Slovenia.

Reflecting on the disappointing performance, Southgate told BBC Sport: “The performance was not what we would have hoped. At the moment we’re not using the ball well enough, and if you do that you’ll suffer as we have at times tonight. There’s another level we have to find.

“There’s a huge amount of work to do – that’s evident. We have to stay tight. We understand people will be disappointed with the performances, and rightly so. We’ve got make them better.”

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