Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Euro 2020: England top group D as Croatia leapfrog Czech Republic to finish second

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The group D presented some interesting clashes throughout as it went down to the wire on the final matchday between England, Czech Republic, and Croatia. Gareth Southgate’s side took an early lead to set themselves apart at a comfortable top spot with 7 points. Between the remaining two, it all came down to goal difference, as both of them were to finish on 4 points.

In the end, Croatia finished second after a 3-1 score line put them on the second spot, with Czech Republic going down with a 0-1 loss to England. There were a number of notable events that took place within this group. From questionable team selection to the desired substitutions left out, it proved to be a bumpy ride for England. With just two goals in three games, both from Raheem Sterling, they just about edged it in the games that they won. With their quality never in doubt, their output was below par during all three games.

Croatia, who had a fairytale of a World Cup run in 2018 at Russia, seemed to lack that sharpness which turns games around in their favor. They lost the first game to England with an unconvincing display; and they drew against the Czechs to just about stay in the race before finally getting the satisfactory three points against Scotland to qualify. The road only gets tougher for them now on.

Czech Republic impressed everyone who predicted Croatia to ease past them. Patrik Schick took the competition by storm, as he scored three in three, including arguably the goal of the tournament against Scotland. Harry Kane, on the other side, has faced a colossal struggle in getting himself on the score-sheet with promising opportunities created by his teammates every game.

England and Croatia are directly qualified for the knockouts. Meanwhile, Czech Republic, who finished third, will be getting a special opportunity. Since there are only 6 groups, there would still be four spots left in the round of 16. Therefore, the 4 best third-placed teams will be going forward to get those, with the Czechs being one of them.


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