England has won its final match of Group D at the 2020 Euro on Tuesday against the Czech Republic, 1-0. They will be moving on to the Round of 16, also known as the Knockout Stage.
England played a calm, controlled match, Raheem Sterling getting them ahead 12 minutes into the first half with what turned out to be the only goal of the game. Manager Gareth Southgate reeled in his team on Tuesday, instructing them to protect their lead and push attention away from their defense, rather than go guns blazing into their offense. Southgate commented after the win:
“We need the strength in depth. It was important Harry Maguire got 90 minutes. Getting 45 minutes was a significant step forward for Jordan Henderson. We need everybody. The guys that came on closed the game out really well. Pressing for the second can improve.”
England needs to step it up if they want to win the 2020 Euro
England will go on to face either France, Germany, or Portugal in the Round of 16. All of whom are closely watch and considered top contenders for the trophy this year, France being the reigning champions of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“To win a tournament you have to beat those teams. We wanted to make sure we won the group and stayed at Wembley. We don’t know if that is advantageous in terms of where the draw will take us but we would rather be here, we could have come second and still have had a really difficult draw. To win the group is good for confidence and it is great our fans will see us in the next round here,” Southgate said.
Southgate was forced to reconsider his lineup due to the absence of two key players, Mason Mount and Ben Chidwell, who had to self-isolate after being found to have been in enough close contact with with Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour. Gilmour tested positive for coronavirus after England and Scotlands 0-0 tie last week at Wembley Stadium.
Although the Three Lions have safely made it to the next phase of the tournament, the safety they displayed will likely not suffice in their first match in the Knockout Phase next week. When asked how the team will prepare for the upcoming challenge, Southgate stressed recovery:
“The first thing is it is great to have a couple of days to recover the players because a few of them have had quite a heavy load in the last week or so at the end of a very long season,’ he said.
“We’ve got to make sure we don’t overdo the work on the training ground. But the difference for the next game compared to this morning, where we wanted to change the way we were defending and we couldn’t get onto a training pitch to do it, we had do it in team meetings. Huge credit to the players for adapting without the ball the way they did tonight.
“Of course, you always want training time: it’s the thing we don’t have as international managers, and we’ve had hardly any of it with the full group because of the complications at the start of our training camp. It would be nice to have what looks like everybody available bar the two lads who are isolating and that time, once we know who our opponents are will be definitely helpful.”