Euro 2020 Qualifiers: England's Unbeaten Run Halted By Czech Republic

Football News

England enjoyed an unbeaten run in European Championship qualifying; a run that stretched back to 2009. The Three Lions were beaten in Prague

Written By Colin DCunha | Mumbai | Updated On:
Euro 2020 Qualifiers

Czech Republic hosted Gareth Southgate's England at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague in a Euro 2020 Group A Qualifier. Southgate's men were riding high on the back of an unbeaten run in European Championship qualifying; a run that stretched back to 10 years. England had earlier beaten the Czech Republic by a five-goal margin back at Wembley in March, but the visit to Prague was likely to be less comfortable for the Three Lions. England last faced a defeat in a qualifying match way back in, incidentally, October 2009, as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Ukraine.

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Southgate opted for a 4-3-3 formation, with Manchester United's £80 million signing Harry Maguire starting with Michael Keane in defense. The 20-year old Declan Rice started in the centre of the park, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Chelsea starlet Mason Mount starting alongside him. Southgate opted to field a front three of Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. In the opening minutes of the game, Raheem Sterling breezed through the Czech Republic defense, as he pulled back to beat the Czech defenders. He, however, seemed to have been brought down in the box by Lukas Masopust. Referee Damir Skomina hesitantly pointed to the spot, and England were awarded a penalty in the 5th minute. Harry Kane was on penalty duties for England, and the Tottenham striker shot straight down the middle, as Czech Republic goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik dived to his right. Harry Kane celebrated rather mutedly, with a reserved fist pump.

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Pickford to the rescue

Jordan Pickford then made a diving save from Czech right-back Vladimir Coufal's effort to keep England in the game. Pickford was to be beaten moments later. England failed to clear a corner, and Czech centre-back Jakub Brabec bundled in an equaliser for the Czech Republic in the 9th minute. Czech Republic had another sight at goal through a corner in the first half, with striker Patrik Schick managing to make contact with the ball. His attempted header, however, flew wide. 

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The two sides stood level at half-time. With his attackers tiring, Gareth Southgate opted to make a change in the 72nd minute; bringing in Ross Barkley and Marcus Rashford in place of Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho respectively. The match was turned on its head in the dying stages of the Qualifier. Lukas Masopust went from zero to hero, as he turned provider, sending a low cross across Pickford's box. Substitute Zdenek Ondrasek was left unmarked, and there was little Pickford could do as Ondrasek duly netted in the winner in the 85th minute. Time was running out for Gareth Southgate's side and he chose to bring on prolific Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham in place of Declan Rice. The change, however, proved to be too little too late, as the Czech Republic held on to snatch three points from under England's noses.

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