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Euro 2020: England tops Group D after Sterling goal downs Czech Republic

England have topped Group D in solid fashion, with a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic, as both sides casually stroll through into the round of 16.

The game started off in dramatic fashion, when a curved through ball round the back by Luke Shaw played Raheem Sterling in-behind. With only the keeper between him and the goal, Sterling chipped the ball over the oncoming goalie, only to see his shot hit the up-right.

The first ten minutes went by at a slow pace, with England controlling the ball deep and the Czech's happy to sit off.

In the 12th minute, the 'Three Lions' put their control onto the scoreboard with a brilliantly skilled team goal. Bukayo Saka picked up the ball inside his own half and drove forward with pace. After a jinking run he played the ball out wide to Phillips, who gave it back to Saka inside the box. Twisting and turning, Saka played a deep cross to Grealish, who played a one-two with Kane, and then dinked a cross into the area for Sterling to head home. It was a terrific goal and one England fans could watch over and over again.

The game came to life after the goal, with the Czech's playing much more aggressively, pressing higher, getting their fair share of the ball and throwing a lot more numbers forward.

Meanwhile England continued to look threatening, particularly through Grealish and Saka; both looking devastatingly creative and positive on the ball.

In the 26th minute, Kane was played through and cut back on his right-foot inside the box. His shot was fired goalward, but denied by Vaclik's strong left hand.

Moments later the Czech's had their best chance of the half; a long range effort from Holes saved by Pickford diving to his right.

Again the Czech's looked likely in the 29th with a Soucek shot from a corner blocked by a wall of bodies.

The rest of the half flew by, with the Czech's mounting a threat and England also looking positive.

England looked likely both with long balls over the top, or through intricate short passing moves.

Unfortunately the second-half did not continue in the same vein as the first. Both sides came out with a much more conservative approach, with an air of both teams very content to see themselves through to the knockout stages.

This was exemplified by the fact that the second-half's first shot on goal came from Pekhart in the 84th minute.

The Czech Republic had more possession in the second-half with Southgate looking to protect England's lead rather than extend it.

The only point of drama came in the 86th minute, when Henderson scored from an offside position. There was slight contention if the ball came off Sevick, but the VAR replayed showed Bellingham had passed the ball.

The game finally dragged itself to a close after a long second-half with both teams proceeding to the knockout phase at a stroll.

Without trying to focus too heavily on England, there were some important performances of note:

Luke Shaw: There has been a lot of contention at left-back for the Three Lions, but Shaw was one of England's best performers tonight, looking sturdy in defence and providing a threat going forward, both with his long passing and bombing pace down the wing.

Bukayo Saka: The 19-year-old was a livewire for England, looking the most positive and creative with the ball. He made things happen and put himself firmly in the frame for a start in their round of 16 match. Substituted in the 84th minute, Saka was met with a Wembley standing ovation.

John Stones: looked really sharp in defence, playing a solid game next to Maguire, Harry Kane again without a goal however looked a lot sharper in attack, and Jack Grealish once again proved why he is so loved, looking so creative and making things happen.

With a big game coming against the runners-up of the 'Group of Death', England fans will be buoyed by a balanced performance, and will watch tomorrow's fixtures knowing a tough match-up at Wembley is an inevitability.

For the Czech Republic, they will be disappointed to start the night in 1st place and finish in 3rd, but qualification to the last-16 was always the goal and Silhavy's men will be excited to face their next challenge.



EURO 2020 - Group Stage

Czech Republic - 0

England - 1 (Sterling 12')

Wembley Stadium, London

Man of the Match:Bukayo Saka


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Eli Rubenstein Sturgess

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