England v Czech Republic: Three Lions desperate for goals on momentous day for Southgate

By Sports Desk June 21, 2021

England will look to dispel doubts around their attacking power when they face the Czech Republic in their final Euro 2020 Group D game on Tuesday.

The 0-0 draw with Scotland at Wembley was the Three Lions' 17th at the Euros and World Cup combined, the most of any nation, while it was just the fourth goalless game out of 115 meetings between the sides.

England managed only one shot on target throughout the match, recording a value of just 1.45 expected goals throughout, their lowest such figure in a European Championship fixture since they drew 1-1 with Russia at Euro 2016 (xG of 0.79).

While four points from two games has both England and the Czech Republic in a strong position to qualify for the last 16 – a draw would secure a top-two finish for both – the scrutiny of the form of Gareth Southgate's side, particularly forwards such as Harry Kane, means they are under huge pressure to perform at Wembley Stadium.

 

Southgate would surely wish for a positive display as he reaches 57 games in charge of his country, a tally that equals the number of caps he won as a player, as debate rages over whether he should embrace a bolder approach and hand starts to Jack Grealish or Jadon Sancho.

Regardless, Manchester City's Phil Foden says there is no reason to doubt Southgate's credentials as he looks to steer England into the knockouts.

"He's a great coach and working with him every day I get to see what he's like," Foden told talkSPORT. "He always has the players' backs and I believe that his tactics are great.

"All these negative people don't know what they're talking about because Gareth's a great coach. Everyone trains very well every day and, whatever team he selects, we're going to trust and back.

"Everyone plays differently, that's the depth we have in the squad. Everyone has different qualities."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

England – Harry Kane

Kane has scored in each of his previous two games against the Czech Republic. Both of those came from penalties but, right now, the Tottenham star would settle for a spot-kick.

Kane has only scored two goals in his past 11 appearances for the Three Lions, after scoring 13 times in his previous 11. He is a man in need of a boost.

Czech Republic – Tomas Soucek

One way Jaroslav Silhavy's side can keep Kane quiet is through blocking the supply lines and limiting the space in which he thrives. Over to you, Tomas Soucek.

In the draw with Croatia, the West Ham man contested five aerial duels, made three clearances and completed 51 passes, the most of anyone on the pitch. His efficiency in winning back and distributing the ball makes him a key cog in the Czech team.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- The Czech Republic and England were in the same qualifying group for Euro 2020 – England won 5-0 at Wembley and the Czech Republic prevailed 2-1 in Prague. They are facing each other in a major tournament for the first time.
- The four previous meetings between the Czech Republic and England produced 14 goals, an average of 3.5 per game.
- England are looking to keep clean sheets in every group stage match at a major tournament for only the third time, also doing so at the 1966 World Cup (three matches) and in the second group stage of the 1982 World Cup (two matches).
- Patrik Schick has scored in each of his first two Euros appearances for the Czech Republic, netting three goals. Since his international debut in May 2016, Schick has scored 14 goals in 28 appearances for his national team, more than any other Czech player.
- Raheem Sterling's only hat-trick with the England national team was against the Czech Republic, in the European Championship qualifier at Wembley in March 2019 (5-0).

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