Wednesday, June 23, 2021

England through

England entered the tournament as one of the favourites, and have proceeded to win their group D today after defeating the Czech Republic 1-0 on a first half header by Raheem Sterling. England thus go through with seven points and a score of 2-0. In their last-16 match England will face the runner-ups of Group F (France, Germany, Portugal, or even Hungary, who could defeat Germany, and with France beating Portugal, could become runner-ups, as unlikely as it may appear), and will thus face a quality team. England have not looked like a world-beating team in the first round, but that makes them, in my view, more likely to succeed: a winning team needs to pace itself to the knock-out matches, and that may be what England needs to do to make it all the way. No matter who they face, it will be an exciting match with England playing at home.

Croatia made it as runner-ups with a 3-1 victory over Scotland. While not looking as good as they did in Russia, Croatia is a team that, on a good day, can beat any team in the world. After a solid start the Czechs only took the third spot. In the match against England it was a bit disappointing that they did not try harder to go for a goal and become group winners, but they appear satisfied to just make it beyond the group stages. I doubt that the Czechs will make it any further, and their memory from the tournament is likely to be Patrick Schick's spectacular 2-0 goal against Scotland.

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