England through to Euro 2020 last 16 as group winners
London, June 23 (IANS): England advanced to the last 16 at Euro 2020 as Group D winners after beating the Czech Republic 1-0.
Both teams had qualified for the knock-out stage ahead of Tuesday’s clash, but England needed a victory over the Czech Republic to go through as Group D winners, reports Xinhua.
Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish and Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka started for England and Manchester United defender Harry Maguire was back in the starting line-up after recovering from an injury.
England dominated the pitch from the start with Raheem Sterling hitting the woodwork within two minutes.
Ten minutes later, Grealish shot a fine cross into the box with Sterling jumping behind Saka to head home from close range.
“I thought it was a much better performance, attacking-wise,” said the Manchester City striker Sterling after the match. “I thought we had more fluid movement and we created some problems as well. Most importantly, we scored the goal we needed and kept a clean sheet.”
Sterling also scored the only goal in England’s 1-0 win over Croatia in the first match on June 13.
The Czech Republic led the group after two matches on goal difference, but their centre-forward Patrik Schick, who scored three times in the first two matches, failed to show his prowess in front of England’s defence.
The Czech Republic made a few threats through counterattacks, and their best chance in the first half was Tomas Holes’ long shot from the middle which was palmed away by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The second half was comparatively dull. Both teams made several changes, but no one could change the scoreline.
England managed to finish the group on top with two wins and one draw, while the Czech Republic had to settle in third as Croatia took the second place after a 3-1 win over Scotland.
England will wait to host the second-placed team in Group F at Wembley one week later. Their next opponents could be Portugal, France, Germany or Hungary.