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Euro 2020: Sterling rescues England again as Scotland are dumped out of group D

Gareth Southgate and his England team are through to the round of 16 with a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic. The goal was scored by Raheem Sterling but yet again the team failed to convince the viewing public but they will have to improve as their last 16 tie will be the second-placed team from Group F, which houses France, Germany, Portugal, and Hungary.

Three games, two goals, and three clean sheets should ordinarily be cause for celebration but just as the team was booed off the Wembley pitch last Friday, another lackadaisical performance was on display at Wembley on Tuesday. Southgate made changes with Bukayo Saka, starting from the right flank and Jack Grealish replaced the self-isolating Mason Mount.

England started the better of the two teams and could have gone ahead in the first two minutes as Sterling’s lob hit the post. They didn’t have long to wait as Sterling headed in an excellent cross from Grealish in the 12th minute to give the Three Lions the lead. It was England’s second goal at Euro 2020, both scored by Sterling.

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England’s captain and the man trusted to score the goals, Harry Kane, was denied his first Euro 2020 goal in the 26th minute as Czech goalkeeper, Tomas Vaclik, put out a strong left palm to save a certain goal. Jordan Pickford was tested by a long-range shot by Tomas Holes in the 28th minute as the Czech team responded.

After the first half, the Lions got worse, and despite changes that saw Jordan Henderson, Marcus Rashford, Jude Bellingham, Tyrone Mings, and Jadon Sancho introduced, they could not find an insurance goal.

Over in Hampden, Scotland were dealt a hand of agony by 2018 World Cup finalists, Croatia, who beat them 3-1, a defeat that saw them crash out of the Euros. Both teams came into the match knowing that a win would see them into the round of 16. It was the Croats that struck first through Nikola Vlasic, who found the goal from inside the box 16 minutes into the game.

The Scottish fans allowed into Hampden Park roused their players and they fought back to get a justified equaliser through Callum McGregor with three minutes to half time. The momentum was with the Scots and they pushed for a second in the second half only to be silenced by a magical strike from Luka Modric on 62 minutes.

Ivan Perisic confirmed Scotland’s departure with a glancing header off a corner kick from Modric with 13 minutes left on the clock. The deficit was too much for Scottish valour and they bowed out from their first international tournament in 23 years.

Group D final table

No.    Team          MP     W      D       L        F       A       D       Pts    

1          England         3          2          1          0          2          0          +2       7

2          Croatia           3          1          1          1          4          3          +1       4

3          Czech Rep.    3          1          1          1          3          2          +1       4

4          Scotland        3          0          1          2          1          5          -1        1

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