Euro 2020: England secures top spot as Croatia advances to last 16
England claimed first position in Euro 2020 Group D with a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic, while Croatia advanced to the last 16 with a 3-1 triumph over Scotland on Tuesday.
Already assured of a place in the last 16, England ensured that their knockout fixture against the Czech Republic will be played in front of their home fans at Wembley with Raheem Sterling’s first-half winner.
On June 29, England will face the second-placed team in Group F, which may be France, Germany, Portugal, or Hungary.
Additionally, UEFA denied a proposal by the city of Munich to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colors for Wednesday’s encounter between Germany and Hungary.
The Bavarian city wished to express its opposition to Viktor Orban’s right-wing government, which recently approved legislation prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality to children.
UEFA, on the other hand, claimed to be a “politically and religiously impartial organization” and hence vetoed the plan.
Munich, on the other hand, has pledged to paint additional landmarks in rainbow hues.
The Czechs also believed they were certain to advance at Wembley prior to kick-off, but their first loss of the tournament dropped them to third place.
Their next opponent will be determined when Wednesday’s last two groups end.
Croatia overtook the Czech Republic for second place in Glasgow with a dominant second half showing that included one of the tournament’s best goals from Real Madrid midfielder Modric.
On Monday in Copenhagen, the 2018 World Cup runner-up will face the second-placed team in Group E, which includes Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, and Poland.
Scotland’s first major event since the 1998 World Cup ended in disappointment, as they failed to reach the knockout stages of an international championship for the first time.
England produced a significantly more cohesive display against the Czechs after narrowly defeating Croatia 1-0 and being booed off following a dull 0-0 draw with Scotland.
There is still much to improve on for Southgate’s side, but England performed admirably during a chaotic build-up that saw Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell forced into self-isolation following Scotland’s coronavirus troubles.
Southgate chose Jack Grealish to replace Mount, and the Aston Villa midfielder immediately offered a spark, with Sterling heading in his perfectly-flighted cross to the far post in the 12th minute.
Bukayo Saka, a 19-year-old Arsenal winger who was also given a surprise start in lieu of Phil Foden by Southgate, offered pace and ingenuity to England’s assault.
However, England were unable to score a lethal second goal, extending Harry Kane’s Euro goal drought to three games.
Tomas Vaclik’s first-half stop denied Kane excellently as he finally had his first chance on target in the tournament.
For the first time in the tournament, the Tottenham striker played the whole 90 minutes, but was once again a shadow of the guy who finished as the Premier League’s top scorer this season.
The Czechs could have stolen a point that would have put them in first place, but Tomas Soucek and Tomas Pekhart’s shots were barely wide.
Southgate will be encouraged by England’s resolute defence.
They have not conceded a goal in the tournament, with Harry Maguire returning from ankle ligament injuries to pair John Stones in central defence and shutting out the Czech Republic.
Callum McGregor equalised Nikola Vlasic’s early strike at Hampden Park to give Scotland optimism heading into half-time.
Modric, though, demonstrated the skill that earned him the right to dethrone Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the 2018 Ballon d’Or winners with a brilliant strike with the outside of his foot just after the hour mark to restore Croatia’s advantage.
Ivan Perisic’s header 13 minutes from time added salt to Scotland’s wounds.
Scotland concluded with just one point, and their campaign will be remembered by the revelation on Monday that Chelsea player Billy Gilmour had been ruled out of the Croatia game due to a coronavirus positive test.
Without Gilmour, who was man of the match in his first Scotland start against England on Friday, Steve Clarke’s side lacked the quality necessary to compete with Croatia.