Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Euro 2020: England held as the Scottish get their first point of the tournament

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After the first game against Croatia ended up with a slender victory, England looked to set their feet in the round of 16 by getting another three points against their neighbours. However, the draw was the eventual result, owing to the combination of persistent defensive display from Scotland, and wasteful final third activity from England.

Gareth Southgate fielded the same 4-2-3-1 formation from their opening fixture, with two chances in the starting XI. The fullbacks in Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker were replaced by Manchester United’s Luke Shaw on the left, and Chelsea’s Reece James on the right. Although United skipper Harry Maguire was fit to play, Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings kept his spot at centre back alongside John Stones, who had a renaissance of a 2020-21 season at Manchester City.

Steve Clarke’s side fielded a 3-4-1-2, deploying Premier League names such as Andrew Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay, Billy Gilmour, John McGinn, and Che Adams.

The opening half was a usual spectacle of England’s possession-oriented approach in action, with their opponents looking to pounce on the counter. With the likes of Mason Mount, Phil Foden, and Raheem Sterling making attempts to penetrate Scotland’s backline, Harry Kane looked relatively stagnant and out of action. The England skipper, who missed big chances in both the games, is goalless in the competition so far.

Second-half substitutes for England, namely Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford were introduced in hopes of the required result. However, their efforts fell short on the night.

England sit second on the table with Czech Republic leading on goal difference. Both the sides have a win and a draw each. Meanwhile, Croatia and Scotland trail on 3rd and 4th respectively; both having a draw and a loss each.

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Group D promises to bring drama into the final group stage fixture, where the top two and the bottom two face each other. With the possibility of any of the four qualifying on the last matchday, England and Czech Republic will have a task at their hands.

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