England stumble over finish line with drab draw against Slovenia

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England stumble over finish line with drab draw against Slovenia

Harry Kane is tackled by Slovenia's defender Jaka Bijol
Harry Kane is tackled by Slovenia's defender Jaka Bijol AFP
England secured top spot in Group C, but it came at the detriment of entertainment, as they played out a 0-0 draw against Slovenia, stretching their unbeaten H2H run to seven matches in the process.

After two sluggish performances to open their Group C campaign, an England side already assured of their place in the knockouts before tonight needed to use this game to get back on track.

The opening stages suggested they were again going to turn in a substandard performance, with misplaced passes the order of play.

It took the Three Lions 20 minutes to get going, and when they did, they produced what they thought was the opening goal.

A free-flowing move gave a glimpse of what England are capable of, but the offside flag denied Bukayo Saka scoring a first-ever goal at the Euros.

Creative sparks were few and far between for Gareth Southgate’s side, but a wicked Kieran Trippier delivery shortly before the break almost forced the issue, only for a desperate Harry Kane to narrowly miss the ball when sliding in at the far post.

Acutely aware his plan wasn’t working, Southgate shuffled the pack at the break to introduce Kobbie Mainoo to replace Conor Gallagher.

His change didn’t really have the desired effect, and by the time Cole Palmer was introduced for his first appearance of the tournament 20 minutes from time, England were still struggling just as much. 

Full-time stats
Full-time statsOpta by Stats Perform

The only saving grace for England was that Slovenia were equally as poor in the final third, and with Denmark’s game also standing level going into the last 10 minutes, it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

However, their failure to take a lead did mean a nervy ending would ensue, but fortunately for the Three Lions, the nerve-shredding ending worked in their favour and they sealed first place in Group C, in turn setting up a last-16 tie against a third-placed side on Sunday evening.

Arguably, the goalless draw suited Slovenia too as it means they’ll be in the knockouts as one of those best third-placed finishers.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Jaka Bijol (Slovenia)

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