This is Sportstar's match blog of the EURO 2020 encounter between England and Czech Republic at the Wembley Stadium in London.
That's it for today. Thanks for tuning in!
Meanwhile, Czech Republic, which started the day at the top of the standings, has now dropped to third. Croatia, which defeated Scotland 3-1 in Glasgow, is now in second, owing to a superior goal difference.
MATCH REPORT |
So, England bags the top spot in Group D and will face the third-placed team in Group F next during the knockout stage (round-of-16), which could be either France, Portugal or Germany.
AND IT'S FULL-TIME! FINAL SCORE: ENGLAND 1 - 0 CZECH REPUBLIC!!!
90' THREE MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME HAS BEEN ADDED ON AT THE END OF THE SECOND HALF! Alex Kral takes a shot from long for the Czechs. But Jordan Pickford makes a straightforward save.
88' There's a last substitution for both teams now. Jadon Sancho gets a chance, finally! He replaces Bukayo Saka in the middle. On the other hand, Matej Vydra comes on for Tomas Holes for the Czech Republic.
85' GOAL RULED OUT! Jordan Henderson thought he had scored here. So did his England teammates as they started celebrating. But Jude Bellingham's pass is ruled offside by the linesman and VAR confirms it. The referee initially thought a Czech player had slipped the ball to Henderson by mistake.
81' The ball is whipped in from the corner by Czech Republic's Petr Sevcik, but John Stones gets it clear for England. This will be Stones' last play of the match as he is being replaced by Tyrone Mings, who started the opening two games for his side in place of Harry Maguire.
77' CZECH REPUBLIC SUBSTITUTION! Patrik Schick, the leader in the Euro 2020 Golden Boot standings, wasn't able to make a difference in this game. He's out and in comes Tomas Pekhart. Czech boss Silhavy had a long conversation with his super-sub.
73' England centre-back John Stones goes on a solo run, but he fails to create a chance as Czech Republic's Tomas Soucek blocks him. The English side has put on a brilliant performance today, clearly dominating the possessional, passing and attacking stats.
69' TWO CHANGES FOR ENGLAND AS WELL! Manager Gareth Southgate looks extremely animated on the sidelines. The assist-provider Jack Grealish and the goal-scorer Raheem Sterling are both taken off. They make way for Jude Bellingham and Marcus Rashford.
65' DOUBLE SUBSTITUTION FOR CZECH REPUBLIC! Head coach Jaroslav Silhavy has decided to bring on Alex Kral and Adam Hlozek to replace captain Vladimir Darida and winger Lukas Masopust, respectively, on the field here.
61' YELLOW CARD! This is the first booking of the match. Czech Republic's Jan Boril brings down Bukayo Saka with a silly challenge from behind. The referee penalises him and he will miss his side's round-of-16 game now. Saka's resultant free-kick is easily cleared away by the Czech defence.
57' Both teams had made a substitution each before the start of the second session. Midfielder Petr Sevcik had replaced Jakub Jankto on the field for Czech Republic. Meanwhile, Declan Rice made way for the experienced Jordan Henderson in England's case.
53' CZECH REPUBLIC CHANCE! Czech player Lukas Masopust wastes a good opportunity as his pass into the box is blocked by Bukayo Saka. England initiates a quick counter-attack but Harry Kane eventually gets dispossessed as the Czechs regain possession.
49' CORNER FOR CZECH REPUBLIC! Skipper Vladimir Darida will take this one. He sends a poor cross into the box. After the initial clearance from the England defence, the rebound falls to Darida himself. But his shot on target is straight at Jordan Pickford, who collects the ball with ease.
THE SECOND HALF IS UNDERWAY!
Forty-five minutes to go. Stay tuned!
AND IT'S HALF-TIME! SCORE: ENGLAND 1 - 0 CZECH REPUBLIC!!!
45' NO STOPPAGE TIME HAS BEEN ADDED ON AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF! Harry Kane hits a thunderbolt of a shot from the edge of the box, but it is a comfortable save for Czech keeper Tomas Vaclik.
43' OFFSIDE! The goal-scorer Raheem Sterling is a little too eager to get to a through-ball from his teammate Kalvin Phillips. The linesman immediately raises his flag and the referee awards Czech Republic a free-kick.
40' CORNER FOR ENGLAND! Luke Shaw will take this one from the left as usual. He takes a poor corner. However, Czech Republic loses the ball cheaply while trying to execute a quick counter-attack. Bukayo Saka gets the ball and dinks a cross into the box but once again there's a timely clearance.
36' GOOD CHANCE FOR CZECH REPUBLIC! Tomas Soucek latches onto a rebound from a Schick shot in the box and fires the ball just a whisker wide of the left post. This was very close. The Czechs are finally getting closer to finding the equaliser tonight.
32' CORNER FOR ENGLAND! Saka was trying to find Raheem Sterling with a cross from the right wing. But a deflection off a Czech defender wins England a corner. Kalvin Phillips with a swinging cross. But Ondrej Celustka's header averts the danger for his side.
28' WHAT A SHOT! Midfielder Tomas Holes found himself in acres of space and fired a terrific shot on target from long range. However, England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford dived full stretch to his right and made an absolutely brilliant save. Czech Republic wasn't able to do anything with the corner that followed.
24' Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish have added a whole new dimension to the English attack. Head coach Gareth Southgate might have just found his best combination here. Will there be a place for Jadon Sancho? SAVE! Tomas Vaclik palms the ball away to deny Harry Kane a goal-scoring opportunity.
20' CZECH REPUBLIC CHANCE! Jan Boril sends the ball into the box from the left side of the pitch, but his low cross is blocked. The rebound somehow falls to Patrik Schick, who fires the ball well wide off the target.
16' FREE-KICK FOR ENGLAND! Saka will take this one. He hits the ball straight into the wall. However, that wins his team a corner. Luke Shaw is on set-piece duty now. He sends a swinging cross into the box from the left. But the Czech defence averts the danger and regains possession.
12' GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!! RAHEEM STERLING SCORES!!!!!! ENGLAND 1 - 0 CZECH REPUBLIC!!! This was a delightful team move which started on the right flank with Kalvin Phillips. He found Bukayo Saka with a decent pass. The latter sent the ball towards Jack Grealish who came up with a wonderful cross into the middle. Sterling eventually got to the ball and headed it into goal.
8' Good early pressure from England here. The team has already created a couple of good chances. FOUL! Tomas Kalas gets away without a booking. He knocked Kane down with an elbow as both of them were trying to reach a high ball. This will be a set-piece for the English outfit.
4' EARLY CHANCE FOR ENGLAND! Left-back Luke Shaw receives a good pass from Harry Kane and immediately sends a long ball towards Raheem Sterling up front. Sterling tries to find the target by chipping the ball over the Czech goalkeeper. However, it hits the post and comes back into play.
AND THE MATCH BEGINS!
Both Czech Republic and England need a win against each other to top their group on the final matchday. The Czechs, however, can snatch first place with a draw as well, owing to their superior goal difference.
Meanwhile, Croatia and Scotland desperately need a victory in their final match to have a chance to reach the EURO 2020's round-of-16 stage. A draw tonight will send both the teams out of the tournament.
GROUP D POINTS TABLE:
The team lineups are out!
ENGLAND XI: Jordan Pickford (G), Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane (C), Raheem Sterling.
COACH - Gareth Southgate.
CZECH REPUBLIC XI: Tomas Vaclik (G), Vladimir Coufal, Ondrej Celustka, Tomas Kalas, Jan Boril, Tomas Holes, Tomas Soucek, Lukas Masopust, Vladimir Darida (C), Jakub Jankto, Patrik Schick.
COACH - Jaroslav Silhavy.
A couple of days contemplating why England hasn’t already advanced at the European Championship allowed Raheem Sterling to fully assess the team's shortcomings.
How could a stalemate with Scotland have been prevented? "With the ball we could have shown a bit more personality and dominated the game more with the ball," the England striker said.
"As a team we need to know where to identify that and take control. We can't get brought into playing a certain way when we want to use the ball a little better." Starting on Tuesday, when the team faces the Czech Republic in its Group D finale.
"I do feel there’s a bit of an over-reaction," Sterling said. "I just feel there’s more of a panic on the outside than inside the building. At the same time, the players who have been at a few tournaments, who have huge experience, try to help the other ones."
England can't even blame unfamiliar surroundings for being held to a 0-0 draw by Scotland on Friday after beating Croatia 1-0. All of its group games are at Wembley Stadium.
There will be a return to its home stadium for the round of 16 if England can win and dislodge the Czech Republic from first place.
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There would be a trip to Copenhagen if England stays in second place. Coach Gareth Southgate has been trying to relax his players by running through past group-stage records of successful teams. "He always shows us best possible scenarios, worst possible scenarios — it’s not the end of the world," Sterling said.
"He's just showing us in previous tournaments that it’s not every team that wins their first few games that goes on to win. Sometimes teams that have drawn their first two games have gone on to win so we’ve just got to stay motivated, be happy and enjoy our football."
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Sterling hasn't always been able to enjoy his soccer this season. The winger ended up as a Premier League winner again with Manchester City but with frustrations. He played in 31 of the 38 games and had to come off the bench in three of them, netting 10 goals.
"Since a kid, if I'm playing football I am really happy," Sterling said. "If I'm not, I'm not happy." Sterling has borne the brunt of criticism over the years playing for England, particularly in the last-16 exit to Iceland at Euro 2016. The player singled out for England's struggles against Scotland is Harry Kane.
Southgate has already confirmed that the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot winner won't be dropped for the match against the Czech Republic despite not scoring in both Euro 2020 games or getting a shot on target.
"We as a team, of course, need to produce more for him, more crosses in the box," Sterling said. "He will be the first person to be disappointed but at the same I know when it’s crunch time Harry will be there, that's for sure."
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The Euro 2020 scoring chart is topped by an expected name and a less renowned forward. Joining Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo with three goals is Patrik Schick ahead of the Czech Republic striker's trip to London.
"We know England have massive quality and top star players," Schick said. "But in their first games they did not create too many chances, maybe they are struggling a little bit in attack.
"But as a team they will be always tough to play against. So we have to prepare as well as we can and of course we want to win, get three points and secure qualification from this group."
It was at Wembley that the Czechs came closest to adding to its 1976 European title, losing the Euro '96 final to Germany. By winning its opening match against Scotland, it has already achieved more than Euro 2016 when it failed to advance from the group stage.
Four points should be enough to be at least one of the four best third-place teams that advances to the round of 16.
England is behind the Czechs on goal difference. Scotland and Croatia meet at Hampden Park at the time same on Tuesday, both with one point.
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