Raheem Sterling’s early header enabled England to overhaul their opponents and claim first place in Group D

England beat the Czech Republic 1-0 at Wembley on Tuesday and clinch the top spot in Group D at Euro 2020. Raheem Sterling, who kept his place alongside Harry Kane in a rejigged attack, settled fans’ nerves with an early headed goal, which ultimately proved decisive. England boss Gareth Southgate made four changes to the side that produced an insipid display in the 0-0 draw against Scotland, handing Jack Grealish and Bukayo Sako their first starts of the tournament. Points Table

With both teams already through to the round of 16 ahead of kick-off, the tempo dropped in the second half as the two coaches made changes. As news filtered through of Croatia going two goals clear of Scotland, pushing the Czechs down into third place, substitute Tomáš Pekhart flashed a shot just past the post but that was as close as they came to an equaliser

All eyes on Group F

Every England fan will be interested to see how Group F finishes. France takes on Portugal and Germany play Hungary with the second-place finishers taking on England at Wembley in the last 16. France is through already, the other three still have a chance of joining them. If Germany wins and France draw, then it’s World Cup winners France next for England. Heavy defeats for Germany and Portugal could see them both eliminated and what a story that would be

Reaction

Raheem Sterling, England forward: “We kept the ball better today and found the gaps well, and got the result we needed. Saka and Grealish got in the pockets really well, turned and got on the ball and it’s brilliant to have players around you who can create goals. That’s part of tournament football, with different players for different matches. If you don’t concede goals, you win football matches if you can score at the other end – and we’ve been doing that really well.”

Bukayo Saka, England midfielder: “It was a really good performance from us tonight – we played some good stuff at times. The manager told me to express myself like I have been doing for my club all season. It was a great cross from Jack and Raheem was there for the goal – I almost got there but just not quite tall enough! It’s important for us to be at Wembley, we have a lot of confidence playing here and the fans are like an extra man for us. It’s a real boost for us.”

Gareth Southgate, England head coach: “The Czechs are a really good side, they use the ball really well and they’re difficult to break down, but there’s more to come from us. We’re not fluent, but we have moments when we look on the good side. There’s a lot of good things that we’re doing and a lot of positives for us. We wanted to win the group and we wanted to stay at Wembley – we’ll wait and see who we play.”

Jaroslav Šilhavý, Czech Republic coach: “When Saka and Sterling sprinted with the ball, it was very hard to stop them. For the goal that we conceded, we did not cover Sterling at all. We expected early pressure and it came. England went after an early goal and scored it. We qualified with a game to spare and competed against England for first place. We have to look at it positively – we achieved what we wanted.

Line-ups
Czech Republic: Vaclík; Coufal, Čelůstka, Kalas, Bořil; Souček, Holeš (Vydra 84); Masopust (Hložek 64), Darida (Král 64), Jankto (Ševčík 46); Schick (Pekhart 75)

England: Pickford; Walker, Stones (Mings 79), Maguire, Shaw; Phillips, Rice (Henderson 46); Saka (Sancho 84), Grealish (Bellingham 68), Sterling (Rashford 67); Kane

 

Also Read: Euro 2020: England Held To Goalless Draw By Scotland At Wembley

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