England lucky *again* as Southgate’s side avoid the Netherlands with Slovakia looming in round of 16

News Desk
England boss Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate gets lucky with England's next opponent.

Group C winners England will play Slovakia in the first knockout stage of Euro 2024 on Sunday evening.

Gareth Southgate’s team topped Group C despite recording underwhelming draws against Denmark and Slovenia after beating Serbia 1-9 in their tournament opener.

That 1-0 triumph came in Gelsenkirchen and the Euro 2020 runners-up will be back there this weekend to take on Francesco Calzona’s side in the round of 16.

Slovakia finished among the four best third-placed sides and were confirmed as England’s opponents upon the conclusion of the group stage on Wednesday night.

Calzona’s team finished on four points in Group E, where a 1-0 win against Belgium and 2-1 defeat to Ukraine was followed by Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Romania.

Slovakia are 45th in the FIFA world rankings – 40 spots below England.

England won 2-1 at Wembley in the last meeting between the sides in September 2017 during qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The reverse fixture, in September 2016, was a 1-0 England victory in Sam Allardyce’s only game in charge of the national team.

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