In the match of England vs the Czech Republic, England overcame the Czech Republic to win Group D and set up a last-16 matchup at Wembley against France, Germany, Portugal, or Hungary, thanks to Raheem Sterling’s second goal of the tournament.
Sterling converted at the far post from Jack Grealish’s cross after good work by Arsenal’s BukayoSaka in the 12th minute, in a performance that turned into a grind after a lively start.
We've got a few tables free for the England vs Czech Republic match tonight, so pop on down and grab a pint! pic.twitter.com/c4qcCQe898
— The Pigeon – Anspach & Hobday's Bottle Shop (@ThePigeon_AH) June 22, 2021
Grealish and Saka were two of the stronger players for the hosts on a night when England was drab and had to make due without Mason Mount, who had self-isolated after colliding with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour in the second group game.
Southgate had the added benefit of Manchester United captain Harry Maguire playing a full 90 minutes in his first game since suffering ankle ligament damage in early May.
Despite a first-half stop from keeper Tomas Vaclik, captain Harry Kane is still looking for his first goal of Euro 2020. Jordan Pickford was scarcely tested at the other end, though he did make a fantastic diving save from Tomas Holes in the first half on a night when England got the job done – through a tougher test awaits them now.
Group F game in a few days
The runner-up in Group F will do so on Tuesday, June 29 at Wembley Stadium (17:00 BST). On Wednesday, Germany will face Hungary, while Portugal will face France in the final games of Group F. (both 20:00 BST).
Mount’s forced absence opened an opening for Villa captain Grealish and Arsenal’s 19-year-old Saka behind captain Kane in England’s side, and with Phil Foden left out, it offered Villa skipper Grealish and Arsenal’s 19-year-old Saka a major chance. While neither player can expect to be guaranteed a place in the knockout stages, they may be pleased with the influence they had as England started strongly before losing steam.
Competition between England vs Czech republic two important players
Saka surged towards the Czech defense with good intent before Grealish provided an inch-perfect cross to the far post for Sterling to score and retain his status as the only England player to score in the tournament thus far after his goal against Croatia. Grealish was a popular decision, with England fans clapping their hands when his name was revealed, and he put in a lively first-half performance in which he was a constant threat, demanding the ball and always seeking to cause issues for the Czech defense.
Saka took the man of the match award and seemed entirely at home on this heightened stage, despite the fact that this was a major change for him and perhaps a surprise.
It remains to be seen if they have done enough to earn a place in Southgate’s starting lineup for the final 16, but they have certainly given England’s manager food for thought.
It’s now time for England to take things seriously
England’s three Wembley performances haven’t exactly shone a light on Euro 2020, but they may be pleased with seven points from three games without surrendering a goal. Everton goalkeeper Pickford has been in superb form throughout, and Maguire’s return to action after such a long absence would have pleased his manager, who sees him as one of his most trusted and vital leaders.
Maguire’s ability to come out of defence and pick a pass, as he proved with a magnificent delivery to set up Kane’s first-half chance, adds another dimension to England’s game. Kane’s goal drought continues to be a source of concern, despite his tireless efforts. Southgate has backed his attacker completely, and he’ll be hoping he’s conserving his best for the last weeks of Euro 2020.