Raheem Sterling scored the lone goal of the match in the 12th minute to beat Czech Republic 1-0 and secure top spot in Group D.
England beat Czech Republic 1-0 at Wembley stadium on Tuesday. The result saw them go through to the Round of 16 of Euro 2020 as Group D winners. Raheem Sterling scored the lone goal of the match in the first half. Meanwhile the Three Lions played with a bit more attacking intent without compromising on the defence this time around. They were widely criticized following the goalless draw against Scotland in the previous fixture. The inclusion of Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka did give them a bit more creativity and pace going forward. Harry Kane, who had a below par performance in the last two games had his best night of the tournament so far. But he was still not able to get on the scoresheet. (Full points table)
England were the better team on the night and deservingly got the lone goal of the match in the 12th minute. Grealish’s cross from the left side of the penalty area was headed in by Sterling at the far post. The first 45 minutes was clearly dominated by England. Less than two minutes into the game, Sterling hit the post. Left-back Luke Shaw’s long ball found the run of Sterling down the left side of penalty area. The 26-year-old former Liverpool man lofted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper only to hit the post and deflect away.
In the 26th minute, Harry Maguire, who was making his first appearance in the tournament, picked up Kane with a superb defence splitting grounded pass from the back. The Tottenham striker got inside the left side of the penalty area and cut inside with his left foot. His right-footed shot which was well saved by Tomas Vaclik’s strong left arm.
Two minutes after Kane’s attempt, at the other end, England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a full stretch diving save to his right to deny Tomas Holes’ long-ranger. That was the only real save the Everton custodian had to make in the entire match.
Few minutes after the half-hour mark, Shaw’s attempted cross deflected off the foot of Vladimir Coufal and Vaclik had to scramble and tip it wide at the near post. Gareth Southgate’s decision to start with Grealish and Saka gave Kane a bit more space to work with. The England captain’s left-footed attempt before the break was well saved by the Sevilla goalkeeper.
The second half was a cagey affair with both teams canceling each other out and not creating any real chances. Jordan Henderson who came in for Declan Rice after the break dictated the game better than the West Ham player. Henderson was coming back from injury and Southgate’s decision to include Henderson and Maguire in the squad despite not being fit at the start of the tournament is certainly paying off.
Maguire successfully completed the 90 minutes and kept their third clean sheet in as many games. Whereas Henderson displayed the leadership quality which was missing from the English team in the previous games. The Liverpool midfielder found the back of the net in the 85th minute but was denied by the linesman for offside and the VAR check confirmed the referee’s decision.
Southgate’s side will next face second placed team form Group F on June 29. That would be either of Germany, France or Portugal. After the loss. Jaroslav Silhavy’s side are placed third in the group with four points level on points with second placed Croatia. They will be optimistic about going through to the Euro 2020 round of 16 as one of the four best third placed teams.