UEFA Euro 2020: Lackluster England held to goalless draw by Scotland at Wembley



England missed a chance to make the last 16 at Euro 2020 as Scotland kept their own hopes alive with a 0-0 draw on Friday. Gareth Southgate’s side would have guaranteed a move through Group D with a win over their old rivals at Wembley. But sluggish England managed to score just one shot on target and Scotland’s belligerent performance easily earned all three points. Despite a flop that saw them bounce off full-time, England have four points and will be on course to qualify if they avoid a loss to the Czech Republic in their last group game on Tuesday.

In their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, Scotland looked far more settled than in their opening 2–0 loss to the Czech Republic.

If they win their final match against Croatia, they will have a chance to move on.

Ponders England’s state-of-the-art shortfall was a major issue for Southgate, who responded to Harry Kane’s second consecutive unsuccessful attempt to dismiss his captain after 75 minutes.

Questions were raised about Kane after he failed to make an impact in England’s 1-0 win against Croatia on Sunday.

Kane admitted he was not invincible this week and Southgate have a tough decision to take on the Tottenham striker, who ended his stint as the Premier League’s top scorer but suddenly lost his touch.

With an average age of 25 years and 31 days, England’s starting line-up was their youngest player in a major tournament match and one of the few senior players to lead by example as rarely as Kane.

Meeting in a major tournament for the first time since England’s victory at Euro 96, it was a rewarding performance for Scotland, with fans serving their team full-time.

It was the 115th clash between England and Scotland, an ancient rivalry that dates back to 1872 on the pitch and centuries earlier.

The Tartan Army was officially limited to 2,500 supporters inside Wembley, but the coronavirus-restricted 22,500 capacity included hundreds more Scots who secured tickets to other areas of the stadium.

It made for a lively atmosphere, with the Scottish national anthem being mocked out loud by England fans and “God Save the Queen” treating visitors the same way.

Impressive Gilmour

John Stones should have lifted the roof early when England’s unmarked defender Mason met Mount with a close-range header from the corner that crashed against the post.

But England were unable to make the most of their initial rush and as the number of hosts grew, Scotland’s confidence began to climb.

Kieran Tierney, having missed the opening game with a calf strain, showed Scotland’s ambition when the defender pushed for a long-range volley that was wide.

Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour, making his Scotland debut, was setting the pace with a live performance in midfield.

The Scots opened up England’s defense with surgically precise moments, with Tierney later climbing on to Andrew Robertson’s pass.

Tierney’s cross kicked Stephen O’Donnell out of the far post and his stinging volley forced a fine defense from Jordan Pickford, with Che Adams widening the empty net from a rebound.

In the second match in a row, England performed brilliantly in the first half.

Southgate’s men took just three minutes into the second half and finally tested David Marshall as the Scotland keeper spread to his right to save Mount’s powerful strike.

Kane teased Reece James, who had been selected on the right instead of Kyle Walker, but narrowly escaped from the edge of the field.

Scotland, competing fiercely and playing with intelligence, remained a major threat and a hooked shot from Lyndon Dykes was pushed out of line by James.

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To incorporate more creativity into England’s performance, Southgate sent Jack Grealish to subordinate Phil Foden and replaced Kane with Marcus Rashford.

Yet when England’s chance came, Luke Shaw felt it and the defender screwed wide from a tight angle.

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