England topped Group D last night thanks to Raheem Sterling’s early header seeing off the Czech Republic.
Gareth Southgate’s already-qualified side put in a controlled display to set up another Wembley date next week, against France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary, as Scotland finish bottom of the pile after being outclassed by Croatia.
Today’s action ends with the so-called Group of Death, still very much alive with Germany, Portugal and Hungary all still hoping to join France in the last 16.
Having lost their opening game to France and also gone behind to Portugal, Germany looked in genuine peril, but they will now fancy their chances of topping the group given that they face Hungary.
France are already through and will finish top if they beat Portugal, or with a draw should Germany fail to win. Holders Portugal could crash out in fourth place if they lose to France and Hungary also beat Germany.
Before that, though, Group E will also go down to the wire with Spain, Slovakia and Poland looking to join Sweden in the knockout stages.
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Recap: England top Group D
England progressed to the knockout phase as group winners thanks to Raheem Sterling’s early header in a 1-0 victory against the Czech Republic.
Sterling headed home fan favourite Jack Grealish’s cross to seal a narrow win against the Czechs at Wembley, where England will return next Tuesday for a last-16 tie against France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary.
Facing the runners-up in the so-called group of death looks a tough ask but there is a lot to be said for home comforts – plus facing underdogs at the Euros does not always go well, such as Iceland five years ago.
There remains plenty for Southgate’s men to improve on after Tuesday’s hard-fought victory, but England reacted well to a disrupted build-up that saw Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell forced into isolation but replacement Grealish impressed – as did fellow tournament full debutant Bukayo Saka.
The fearless pair were involved in the winning goal under the arch, where Sterling bounced back from hitting a post in the opening stages to head home Grealish’s 12th-minute cross.
There were some nervy moments when the Czechs settled and Harry Kane’s wait for his first Euros goal continues, but England professionally saw out a forgettable second half to wrap up qualification without conceding.
That was a bit better last night, right?
Mount and Chilwell ‘gutted’
Chelsea’s self-isolating pair will be supporting England on their own.
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin says he is “grateful to the prime minister and the UK government for their hard work in finalising these arrangements with us.”
“It is great news that so many fans will be able to watch the final three matches of Euro 2020 at Wembley,” he said.
“The last 18 months have taught us – both on and off the pitch – how integral fans are to the fabric of the game.
“This tournament has been a beacon of hope to reassure people that we are returning to a more normal way of life and this is a further step along that road.
“I am grateful to the Prime Minister and the UK Government for their hard work in finalising these arrangements with us, to make the tournament final stages a great success in Wembley.”
Wembley capacity lifted
All ticket holders will need to follow a number of strict entry requirements, including having a negative Covid-19 test or proof of full vaccination – two doses received, 14 days before the fixture.
While there has been no announcement on the outcome of talks between the Government, the Football Association and UEFA over a workaround solution for quarantine restrictions which would see up to 2,500 VIPs attend the final, this makes a deal even more likely.
“We are thrilled that more fans will now be able to walk through the Wembley turnstiles and enjoy the finals of Euro 2020,” said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.
“As we continue to make progress on our roadmap out of lockdown, keeping the public safe remains our top priority.
“We have worked extremely closely with UEFA and the FA to ensure rigorous and tight public health measures are in place whilst allowing more fans to see the action live.
“The finals promise to be an unforgettable moment in our national recovery from the pandemic.”
Bayern statement on Allianz Arena
BREAKING: More than 60,000 to attend semis and final
Crowd capacity at Wembley Stadium will be increased to more than 60,000 fans for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020, the government has said.
The new levels mean the stadium will be at 75 per cent capacity for the final three games, which conclude with the final itself on July 11.
Malen hoping to start
Netherlands striker Donyell Malen would be disappointed not to start his country’s last 16 match after bursting onto the tournament stage in the last two games, he said on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old made an immediate impact after coming on in the second Group C game against Austria last Thursday and started Monday’s clash against North Macedonia, being involved in the opening goal of the 3-0 win in Amsterdam.
The Dutch finished top and now move onto a last 16 clash in Budapest on Sunday against an opponent yet to be decided.
“I would be disappointed if I didn’t play in Budapest, that would be naturally human, right?” he told a news conference on Tuesday.
“But it is the coach who decides who plays. We still have enough training sessions in which to try and make it as difficult as possible for the trainer to not leave you out.”
Grealish set to start tonight
Gareth Southgate is ready to give Jack Grealish a start tonight after Mason Mount was ruled out of the game.
Jude Bellingham was in contention to take the Chelsea midfielder’s place but it is Grealish who The Times report will get the nod.
Germany team news
Germany’s Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gundogan returned to training on Tuesday, a day before their final Group F match against Hungary, while teammate Thomas Muller’s participation remained doubtful after he only did some light running alone.
They had all suffered injuries in Germany’s 4-2 win over Portugal last week.
While defender Hummels and midfielder Gundogan trained with the team, attacking midfielder Mueller cycled to training with his knee lightly bandaged and jogged for some time with team-mate Lukas Klostermann, who is recovering from an injury of his own.