ENGLAND - ROAD TO THE FINAL OF EURO 2020, HERE'S HOW SOUTHGATE'S MEN HAVE REACHED THE SUMMIT.
After a long wait of nearly 60 years, England are finally close to bringing it home as they reach the final of a Euro for the first time in their history. It has been a tournament full of ups and downs for all teams but England as they have hardly put a foot wrong. With the best defensive record in the tournament, they are surely the deserving finalists the world wanted in Euro 2020.
Gareth Southgate has been under constant speculations for his team selection, but in the end, results are the only thing that matters the most for the fans and Southgate has delivered them well. Heading up to the finals as the favourites, it has been a beautiful journey for the Englishmen so far. FootTheBall brings you how England have managed to hold their heads high and reach the finals of Euro 2020 in this recap of the whole competition.
GROUP STAGE MATCHDAY 1 – CROATIA
England have one of the deepest squads out of the lot and hence there was a lot of uncertainty involving Gareth Southgate’s game plan ahead of the tournament. Southgate played Raheem Sterling over Grealish which surely raised a lot of eyebrows among the fans.
Ironically Sterling was the man who scored the only goal in the game for the home side as they get away with 3 points. Although they won, they weren’t that impressive in the final third and considering the poor performance of Croatia, they should have won the game by a better margin.
GROUP STAGE MATCHDAY 2 – SCOTLAND
England played their noisy neighbours in their 2nd game and a goalless draw was surely not the result they were hoping for. A lot of questions were raised against the bluntness of the British attacking front after their first game and their second result only made matters worse for the English camp.
Scotland were not a formidable opponent for the star-studded English side. Although England dominated the possession, the Scotts were the ones who created more chances in front of goal. England were doing well in the midfield, but their conversion rate was very poor throughout the 90. The fans started losing hope in their manager which pressurized England to end the group stage on a high note in their next game.
GROUP STAGE MATCHDAY 3 – CZECH REPUBLIC
The Czech Republic were the dark horses of Euro 2020 and were actually looking better than England ahead of the match. Although England won the game in a close 1-0 affair, they still didn’t hit the mark that was expected of them.
It was a similar showing this time around as well since the Whites dominated possession but failed to create more chances than their opponents. If it weren’t for Pickford’s excellence, England would not have topped their group. Raheem Sterling was the only scorer for England so far as Hary Kane seemed completely dormant in all three games.
ROUND OF 16 – GERMANY
Germany were the first real contenders England faced in the tournament which is why the supporters had their doubts ahead of the game. Fortunately, we saw an improved English side as they knocked the Germans out in a 2-0 comfortable victory.
Germany are known to dominate the possession and pressurize the backline of the opposition but things didn’t go according to the script. England dominated the game as the ball was mostly seen in the German halved of the pitch. Germany started getting annoyed by the tight English defence and in turn, left gaping holes in their own backline.
Harry Maguire’s return from his injury surely made the difference for England as they continued their clean sheet streak. Harry Kane also scored a goal for his side we saw him gradually getting into his usual stride.
QUARTER FINAL – UKRAINE
Ukraine had fought tooth and nail against Sweden to reach the last 8 in the tournament, but unfortunately for them, the English side brought their A-game onto the pitch. England won 4-0 against a disappointing Ukrainian side as their fairytale run had come to an end.
The fans got to see England’s true potential as they excelled in every department of the game. They dominated the possession, scored 4 out of the 8 shots they had which clearly showed us their improvement in the goal conversion rate throughout the competition.
Harry Kane finally got back to his usual quality as he scored a hattrick in this game. England truly played like a team aiming to win Euro 2020.
SEMI-FINAL – DENMARK
Denmark surprisingly gave England a hard time and were just the unluckier side out of the two to lose 2-1 on extra time. England conceded their first goal of the tournament but only because of a dead ball situation. Despite conceding first, the Englishmen kept their composure and got back the equalising goal in under 10 minutes.
England made the better chances throughout the game and in the end, got the match-winning goal courtesy of a controversial penalty decision. England have been effectively using pace on the wings and is one of their strong suits leading up to the finals of Euro 2020.
Despite their shaky start in the tournament, England have managed to pull themselves together and have seen an improved side every time they step onto the pitch. They haven’t conceded a single goal in open-play and are the favourites to win the Euro trophy. It has been a beautiful journey so far, but lifting some silverware is the only way they can achieve a happy ending to their campaign.