England qualify for knockout stage ahead of final group game

Date published: Monday 21st June 2021 11:03 - News Desk

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England sealed qualification to the European Championship knockout phase on Monday night without kicking a ball.

The Three Lions sit second heading into Tuesday’s Group D decider against the Czech Republic, who are also on four points but boast a superior goal difference.

England need to win at Wembley to go through as group winners and a positive result is required to finish in the top two, but any stress over qualification has been removed by results elsewhere.

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The four best third-placed teams from the six groups at the rearranged Euros progress to the round of 16.

Monday’s results saw Ukraine and Finland finish third in their respective groups on three points apiece, meaning that if England did slip to that place they would still go through.

Switzerland, Sweden, Czech Republic and France are also through to the last 16.

Belgium finished top of Group B, picking up three wins from three and scoring seven goals in the process.

Holland ended their group campaign with a 3-0 victory over North Macedonia, with Gini Wijnaldum scoring twice in Amsterdam.

Frank De Boer’s men have silenced plenty of critics with their fluid and attractive style of play.

England, in contrast, are yet to find their best form at the tournament. They were held to a 0-0 draw on Friday by an impressive Scotland side.

Gareth Southgate may be forced to ring the changes against the Czech Republic.

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell are doubtful after coming into contact with Billy Gilmour, who has had a positive COVID-19 test.

The Chelsea duo are isolating and it remains to be seen whether they will be available for selection.

Southgate could start Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho in Mount’s absence. The talented 21-year-old is yet to kick a ball at the Euros, despite coming off the back of a great campaign in Germany.

Speaking about Southgate’s lack of substitutions, pundit Rio Ferdinand said: “Utilise that bench, that’s what it’s there for. We’ve got all these players. Sancho? What’s he done? He must have done something behind the scenes.

“He (Sancho) for the last three seasons has the second most goal involvements in this England squad after Sterling and Harry Kane.”

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