The English Men National Football Team, the 3 Lions slummed to their 1st defeat in a qualifier(World or Europe) in 10 years, when they went down 1-2 to the Czech Republic on Friday night, in a matchday 5 of the Euro 2020 qualification tie. The defeat was the 1st after 43 unbeaten games( W34 & D9). The 3 Lions last defeat was a 0-1 loss to Ukraine in a FIFA World cup qualifier in 2009 under the tutelage of Fabio Capello.
Tagged by many as the worst performance by the 3 Lions under Gareth Southgate, England was abysmal on the night, not just in the defence but in the attack too where they registered just 7 shots(only 4 on target) all night, a far cry of a team that had scored 19 goals in her last 4 qualifiers.
The defeat didn’t come as a surprise to many, it’s been long coming. The inconsistency and schoolboy errors made by the defence line in recent games has made England susceptible to a disciplined team. The 3 goals conceded in the 5-3 win over lowly Kosovo in the last game highlighted the concern at the back.
The tie against Czech started according to plan, England got off to a flying start in the 5th minute when Raheem Sterling was brought down in the box. Harry Kane stepped forward and dispatched from 12 yards. However, the lead lasted just 4 minutes. England failed to clear a corner kick and Jakub Brabec made them pay by firing home Czech’s equalizer. A draw could have saved England’s blushes on the night but they were caught napping again with 5 minutes left in regulation time, Zdenek Ondrasek on hand for Czech’s winner.
Player rating confirm how poor the 3 Lions were on the night, especially the defence line where only Jordan Pickford(7 pts) exhibited some worlds class saves. The quartet of Kieran Trippier(5 pts), Harry Maguire(5 pts), Michael Keane(4 pts) & Danny Rose(5pts) were all below par with their performances. Not even Declan Rice(4 pts) and Jordan Henderson(5 pts) tasked with the responsibility of protecting the defence line covered themselves in glory.
A win would have made England only the 2nd team after Belgium to have qualified for the 2020 showpiece but they will have to try again with a trip to Bulgaria on Monday night. The Czech Republic, on the other hand, boosted their chance of qualification with the win over England, now joint top with the 3 Lions on 12 points, though with a game more than England.
Manager Gareth Southgate alongside his captain Harry Kane agreed that the result was a wake-up call for the team, and the team needed a response come Monday against Bulgaria in an already tensed match built up.
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