England 0-0 Scotland: Toothless Three Lions fail to confirm knockout spot

By Sports Desk June 18, 2021

England failed to make absolutely certain of a spot in the knockout phase of Euro 2020 as they were held to a 0-0 draw by bitter rivals Scotland at Wembley on Friday.

The Three Lions went into the contest as favourites, particularly given the two teams' contrasting fortunes on matchday one, but Scotland produced a spirited performance to secure a point from what was the first goalless match between the old rivals in 33 meetings at Wembley.

Scotland had more clear chances than England in a gruelling – albeit unspectacular – first half, though the best opportunity came the way of John Stones, who nodded onto the upright.

Otherwise, though, England were largely unimpressive going forward, with Harry Kane particularly disappointing as Gareth Southgate's men were unable to find a winner, the draw meaning both teams have work to do on matchday three.

 

Stones was in the thick of frantic early action as he first crucially blocked a potentially goal-bound Che Adams shot before then having a header cannon back off the post at the other end.

England's only other clear chances of the first half were ultimately irrelevant as Kane and Phil Foden strayed offside while narrowly missing the target, making it the first competitive match since November 2014 in which the Three Lions failed to get a first-half shot on target.

Scotland did create one other great opportunity, though, with Stephen O'Donnell latching on to Andrew Robertson's cross and seeing Jordan Pickford parry his volley.

Mason Mount tried to take matters into his own hands soon after the restart, his fierce 20-yard effort turned away from the bottom-left corner by David Marshall.

Reece James then headed clear a dangerous-looking Lyndon Dykes effort shortly after, though replays did suggest his effort was going to at most hit the post rather than find the net.

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    Thomas Tuchel said Chelsea must find a solution to N'Golo Kante's fitness struggles after the Blues came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Leicester City.

    Marcos Alonso volleyed home to cancel out James Maddison's opener in front of Todd Boehly, part of a consortium looking to take ownership of the club, with the Blues all but securing a third-place finish in the Premier League despite having won just one of their last five league games (three draws, one loss).

    Tuchel's men have now drawn 11 league games during a frustrating season, more than they have managed in a single campaign since recording 10 stalemates when finishing 10th in 2015-16.

    World Cup winner Kante played the first 72 minutes against his former club before being replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but has been linked with a move away with his Stamford Bridge contract due to expire in 2023.

    The 31-year-old has only started 20 of the Blues' 37 league games this term, featuring for a total of just 1,688 minutes in the Premier League and missing out entirely on 12 of the team's league fixtures.

    Speaking in his post-match press conference, Tuchel said the midfielder was Chelsea's "key player", stressing the need to resolve his fitness issues.

    Tuchel also likened Kante to the players such as Mohammed Salah, Kylian Mbappe and several other world stars, claiming he lifts the rest of the side when fit.

    "I think he is our key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch. He plays only 40 per cent of the games, so then it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place," Tuchel said.

    "He is our Mo Salah, he is our [Virgil] van Dijk, he is our [Kevin] De Bruyne. He is simply that player, he is our Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

    "He is that guy who makes the difference and if you only have him for 40 per cent then it is a huge problem. Given that percentage, it is maybe a miracle that he produces results. 

    "It puts everything into perspective as I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk last season and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N'Golo is our key player and we need him on the pitch.

    "It's hard to live with. It's important for him to be there and to have the rhythm. I think he played okay but he can play so much better. But when was the last game he started? It was weeks ago. So he constantly starts getting rhythm, but once he has that, there comes a little injury and he's out again.

    "Last year, in the last five matches of the Champions League, he got the [man of the match] trophy. This guy who gets man of the match in every Champions League game, he is only here for 40-something per cent of the matches. This is huge for us."

    Meanwhile, Chelsea were once again left to rely on their wing-backs to provide attacking impetus against the Foxes, with Reece James claiming his eighth league assist of the season by teeing up Alonso's goal.

    James has now created twice as many goals this season as in his previous two Premier League campaigns combined (four assists in 56 appearances), while the Blues also racked up 20 shots to Leicester's two over the course of the contest.

    Christian Pulisic was guilty of missing Chelsea's best chance to claim a second-half winner as the hosts created 1.64 expected goals (xG) to the Foxes' 0.09, and while Tuchel was content with his team's performance, he was again left to bemoan their lack of cutting edge.  

    "We were the better team and deserved to win," he added. "We didn't allow any chances and got punished by a shot from outside the box. We created enough to win, didn't allow transitions and chances for Leicester. So, I am fine with the performance.

    "It's a bit of a broken record, we did not take what we deserve. We needed a goal from a wing-back and an assist from a wing-back."

    Chelsea will round off their Premier League campaign with another home match on Sunday, when relegated Watford travel to Stamford Bridge.

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    Everton entered Thursday's contest at Goodison Park knowing that victory would guarantee them a 69th consecutive campaign of English top-flight football – a record only Arsenal (97 from next season) can better – but trailed to goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew before half-time.

    However, for the first time in their Premier League history, at what was the 75th attempt, the Toffees recovered from a two-goal deficit at the midway point of a game to collect all three points thanks to goals from Michael Keane, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

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    Everton have now gained 15 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season – only Liverpool (17) have recovered more – with 38 per cent of their points in 2021-22 coming in games in which they have fallen behind.

    Lampard, who took over from Rafael Benitez at the end of January, celebrated the latest comeback triumph wildly with Everton fans, his backroom staff members and the club board.

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    He added: "I'm overwhelmed and I've got so much thanks for people because there's a lot of people who have worked so hard for that, to get over the line today. Namely the players, the fans, the board, my staff. Huge night for Everton and now we want to take that forward."

    Dele Alli, who has struggled since arriving from Tottenham in the January window, played a huge part in the turnaround after being introduced at the interval.

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  • Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City: Alonso hits leveller as Blues and Foxes share the spoils Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City: Alonso hits leveller as Blues and Foxes share the spoils

    Chelsea all but secured a third-place Premier League finish with a 1-1 draw against Leicester City as Marcos Alonso coolly cancelled out James Maddison's excellent opener.

    Alonso volleyed home late in the first half after Maddison found the back of the net from 20 yards, but the Blues spurned several chances to find a winner.

    Although Chelsea failed to respond to Saturday's FA Cup final loss with a victory, the Blues' significant goal difference advantage over Tottenham means they all but guaranteed a third-place finish with the draw.

    Thomas Tuchel's men will also be grateful for having taken another step towards the end of a challenging season as the club hopes for a resolution to the protracted takeover saga involving the Todd Boehly-led consortium.

    The visitors needed just seven minutes to take the lead, with Maddison firing an excellent long-range strike beyond Edouard Mendy after latching onto a loose ball outside the area.

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    Thiago Silva headed over from Reece James' corner after half an hour, but the Blues levelled just five minutes later when Alonso fired home at the near post after racing onto James' lofted pass.

    Romelu Lukaku nodded Hakim Ziyech's left-wing delivery wide as Chelsea continued to dominate, but Christian Pulisic was guilty of the Blues' worst miss with the goal gaping just after the hour.

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    Maddison strikes from range again

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    Since his Premier League debut in August 2018, meanwhile, the midfielder has scored 14 goals from outside the area in the competition – only James Ward-Prowse (15) has scored more in that time. 

    What's next? 

    Chelsea finish their Premier League season at home to Watford on Sunday, while Leicester host Southampton on the same day.

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