England won 1-0 over the Czech Republic at Wembley on Tuesday, clinching first place in Group D for Euro 2020. With an early-headed goal that proved decisive, Raheem Sterling, who kept his spot alongside Harry Kane in a rejigged attack, calmed the fans’ concerns.
Gareth Southgate, England’s national team manager, made four changes to the squad that drew 0-0 with Scotland, starting Jack Grealish and Bukayo Sako for the first time in the competition.
Mason Mount, a Chelsea midfielder, was unavailable owing to coronavirus regulations, and Southgate chose to leave Phil Foden out to avoid the danger of a ban. Harry Maguire, a Manchester United defender, made his Euro 2020 debut in central defense with John Stones.
Both teams had already qualified for the knockout stages, but the top slot in the group was up for grabs, along with the dubious honor of facing world champions France, holders Portugal, or Germany.
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After collecting a sweeping pass from Luke Shaw, Sterling went agonizingly close in the second minute, but could only watch as his exquisite chip over the goalkeeper came back off the post. As cries of “Football’s Coming Home” reverberated throughout the stadium, Kane, who has been chastised for his lackluster efforts thus far in the tournament, took the field.
In the 12th minute, England broke the deadlock as Grealish lifted the ball from the left side of the penalty area to the back post, where Sterling headed in his second goal of Euro 2020.
On their excursions forward, the Czechs, on the other hand, posed a threat of their own, which grew in intensity as the half progressed.
With seven points, England won Group D, while Croatia came in second with four points. As one of the top third-placed teams, the Czech Republic will join them in the last 16.