England Defeat Czech Republic at Euro 2020
Czech-Mate as England Seal Win – A Tactical Analysis
Gareth Southgate’s side set up as a compact 4-2-3-1 formation. It is a system that the England manager has utilised since the tournament began. In terms of personnel, there were several enforced changes to the team which laboured to a dull 0-0 draw against Scotland. Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka came in for Phil Foden and Mason Mount. Meanwhile, Harry Kane led the line once more despite his recent disappointing matches.
The Czech Republic also played a 4-2-3-1 formation. Manager Jaroslav Silhavy was looking for his big performers of Patrick Schick and Tomas Soucek to continue their promising tournament. Schick had started the tournament in fine form with three goals in two games. He scored that memorable goal from just inside the opposition’s half against Scotland in what will be one of the standout goals of the competition.
The Three Lions Capitalise on the Czech Republic
England produced a much more attacking and consistent performance than against Scotland. Their tempo was much more in tune with a team expected to go far in the tournament. England created many chances in the first half especially. The main protagonists were Grealish and Saka, who were a constant threat – always creating danger to the Czech defence. It was a well-worked goal assisted by Grealish for Raheem Sterling to score his second goal of Euro 2020.
As time went on, England’s performance became dourer. They were penned back by a Czech team seeking an equaliser which, in truth, was never a real possibility. The visitors had an off night and never played to their full potential. The only sour point from an England standpoint was the disappointing performance from Harry Kane once again. His lack of energy and fluidity is a worry for a squad that will rely upon his expertise in the knockout phase.
But England will be buoyed by the returns of key men in Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson. Their leadership and experience was noteworthy on the night. Their big-game experience will be needed for their journey ahead.
The Three Lions finished the group with seven points from nine and three clean sheets. However, there will be bigger challenges to come – namely from the runner-up in Group F with a tasty tussle with France, Portugal or Germany on the horizon.
England have given the sensation that they just do enough to get the job done. But Southgate’s conservative approach will be put to the test against a more experienced and expansive opposition in the next round.
The Key Men on the Night for England and the Czech Republic at Euro 2020
There was a huge clamour for Jack Grealish to be given a start. The new poster boy of English football got his chance against the Czech Republic and produced a bright performance with his crisp assist and all-around play. His skill, movement and a confident attacking presence certainly gave England a fresh dynamism and fully justified his start.
Another shining light was Bukayo Saka. In for Phil Foden, he took his opportunity with some darting runs along the right-wing. His drive and determination propelled England and made his side attack to a faster rhythm. He could well be the wild card in the knockout rounds.
Finally, Raheem Sterling had a solid night with his well-taken header and overall play. He was unfortunate not to score with his chip shot coming back off the post. He now gives his manager further evidence of why he should remain in the starting line up.
The Three Lions were not exactly roaring but did what was expected of them – finishing leaders of the group. Now the knockout stage awaits as England expects.