England top Group D and qualify for Euro 2020 knockout stage
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England boss Gareth Southgate masterminded his side’s 1-0 win over Czech Republic on Tuesday night. It was a good evening for the Three Lions, who emerged victorious courtesy of Raheem Sterling’s first half header. But while things are positive again, it’s time to look at four players now in danger after the match.
England decided to leave Phil Foden out of the squad for the match against Czech Republic.
Southgate explained his decision before the match, saying: “He’s on a yellow card and given that we look like we’re missing two players already for the next round, I don’t want to take a risk on a third.
“It’s a shame for Phil but I think it’s a sensible decision.”
Yet while England wanted to protect Foden, he may struggle to get back into the team.
Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka both excelled on the night, while Sterling scored his second goal of Euro 2020 so far, meaning the Manchester City star’s starting berth is now under threat.
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England decided to drop Reece James for the game on Tuesday.
Despite soaring under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, the 21-year-old was flat as the Three Lions drew 0-0 with Scotland last time out.
And, in his place, Kyle Walker produced a solid showing.
The Manchester City star was good defensively, nullifying the threat of Jakub Jankto before the Sampdoria star was withdrawn.
And Walker also offered England an outlet in attack, going forward with gusto and driving Southgate’s team up the pitch.
England started Tyrone Mings in their first two matches of Euro 2020, with the Aston Villa star shining in matches against Croatia and Scotland.
However, the 28-year-old found himself benched for Czech Republic with Harry Maguire selected in his place.
It was Maguire’s first start since Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa on May 9 and, though he’s not 100 per cent fit just yet, he didn’t put a foot wrong.
The former Leicester star was defensively sound and also providing the foundations for his team to attack, cutting through the Czech Republic midfield with some pinpoint passing.
Maguire offers England something different – and it’s clear he’ll be picked if he can keep injury at bay.
With England already through, and looking comfortable, many expected Jadon Sancho to come on far sooner.
However, the Borussia Dortmund star was only given action towards the end of the contest after being introduced in the 84th minute.
Sancho, it seems, isn’t in Southgate’s immediate plans as he plots a pathway to European Championships glory.
And with Saka, Grealish and Sterling all shining on Tuesday night, the Borussia Dortmund star is facing a problematic summer when it comes to making his mark.
At least a £80million move to Manchester United should boost his spirits…
Southgate delivers verdict
Speaking after the game, Southgate admitted England would like to play ‘champagne football’.
But the 50-year-old also made it clear he was happy with his side’s showings at Euro 2020 so far, particularly from a defensive point of view.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think if you spoke to the players, we spoke a lot about that freedom, but we are a little bit short in a few areas of match fitness and sharpness, and I thought as the game wore on that started to take its toll a bit.
“We have hit the woodwork in all three matches and the other thing we have to get better on is our attacking set-play which is normally such a good source of goals for us and our deliveries have been really poor.
“We are difficult to score against at the moment and although we’re not perhaps flowing as much as we’d like, that solidity is critical for any team doing well.”
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