England top Group D in Euro 2020 with Czech Republic victory

England's Raheem Sterling (left) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with Jack Gr

England's Raheem Sterling (left) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with Jack Grealish during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Tuesday June 22, 2021. - Credit: PA

England finish top of Group D as they seal a 1-0 victory over Czech Republic thanks to Raheem Sterling.

The 26-year-old notched his second goal of the tournament in his hometown to cement the Three Lions a last 16 tie at Wembley next week.

Gareth Southgate made four changes to the line-up with Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka coming in to replace Reece James, Tyrone Mings, Phil Foden and Mason Mount.

England's Jack Grealish (right) in action with Czech Republic's Tomas Soucek (centre) and Vladimir C

England's Jack Grealish (right) in action with Czech Republic's Tomas Soucek (centre) and Vladimir Coufal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Tuesday June 22, 2021. - Credit: PA

The Chelsea midfielder missed out through self-isolation as did Ben Chilwell while Phil Foden was dropped from the matchday squad.

It was a bright start for the Three Lions as a superb run in behind from Raheem Sterling led him getting on the end of the ball and lifting a shot over goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik and hitting the far post in the second. 


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England pressed hard which saw them push Czech deep in their own half with a few half chances and free-kick as a reward. 

Defender John Stones rose up and nodded a free-kick into the side netting not long as they began to dominate. 

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The hard work paid off in the 12th minute as Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka raced forward from his own half before working the ball across to Jack Grealish who crossed the ball towards the back where Sterling was to nod home and make it 1-0 with his second of the tournament. 

England's Raheem Sterling (right) scores their side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Euro 20

England's Raheem Sterling (right) scores their side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Tuesday June 22, 2021. - Credit: PA

Captain Harry Kane could have doubled their advantage as he took down a long ball in from Harry Maguire, where he cut back and drilled an effort on target, but was denied with Sterling racing in at the back post. 

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was called into action just minutes later as he dove across his goal and to push a Tomas Holes effort behind for a corner. 

Czech went close again in the 35th minute as the ball deflected into the path of West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek but he drilled his effort wide of the target. 

After weathering a brief storm, England counter attacked with pace, where left-back Luke Shaw’s low cross was deflected and forced Vaclik into a save. 

It was a cagey start to the second-half as Southgate brought on Jordan Henderson in place of Declan Rice to give his vice-captain some minutes on the pitch.

Czech Republic's Jan Boril (left) fouls England's Bukayo Saka during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D matc

Czech Republic's Jan Boril (left) fouls England's Bukayo Saka during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Tuesday June 22, 2021. - Credit: PA

Both teams decided to rotate their squads by introducing substitutes in order to keep players fresh for the knock-out stages of the competition.

England did however think they had doubled their lead in the 86th minute when Liverpool midfielder Henderson tucked home a shot after Jude Bellingham won the ball inside the opposition's box.

England: Pickford, Walker, Stones (Mings 79), Maguire, Shaw, Rice (Henderson 46), Phillips, Sterling (Rashford 67), Grealish (Bellingham 67), Saka (Sancho 83), Kane.

Unused subs: Ramsdale, Johnstone, Trippier, White, James, Coady, Calvert-Lewin.

Czech Republic: Vaclik, Coufal, Celustka, Kalas, Boril; Soucek, Holes, Masopust (Hlozek 64), Darida (Kral 64), Jankto (Sevcik 46), Schick (Pekhart 75).
 


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