Jos Buttler has been ruled out of the remainder of England's white-ball encounters with Sri Lanka by a calf injury.

Buttler was named man of the match in the first Twenty20 International of the series after scoring a blistering unbeaten 68 not out in a crushing eight-wicket win on Wednesday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman damaged his right calf during that match at Sophia Gardens and missed a series-clinching five-wicket victory at the same venue on Thursday.

Buttler underwent an MRI scan on Thursday morning that revealed a small tear, which will keep him out of the final T20 at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday and all three ODIs.

The 30-year-old will return home to commence a rehabilitation programme on Friday, with Jonny Bairstow expected to keep the gloves in Southampton.

Dawid Malan, the top-ranked T20 batsman in the world, has been added to the ODI squad following Buttler's withdrawal.

Liam Livingstone led England to a Twenty20 series win over Sri Lanka despite the tourists threatening a comeback in Thursday's second match.

In the absence of Jos Buttler, who was nursing a calf injury, Livingstone's 29 from 26 balls ensured an eighth consecutive victory at Sophia Gardens in this format.

After Sri Lanka had posted 111-7, the lowest score England had ever conceded over 20 overs, the hosts survived a wobble high up the order and a rain delay in Cardiff to post 108-5 and win by five wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Sam Curran (1-8) produced a finish arguably more worthy of Wembley Stadium to run out Danushka Gunathilaka, side-footing the ball right into the stumps as England made a solid start after losing the toss.

Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis brought up a partnership of 50 from 53 balls, but the Sri Lanka captain was gone off the next delivery from Mark Wood, a reverse sweep coming right off the toe of the bat and straight to Eoin Morgan.

Wood then claimed two from two deliveries, Bairstow clearing the decks to catch a high ball from Mendis before Morgan was given a simple take at midwicket from Niroshan Dickwella. A hat-trick very nearly followed, Wanindu Hasaranga – who was later stumped by Bairstow from Adil Rashid's delivery – almost edging to slip.

Sri Lanka did at least get to three figures in the final over, Isuru Udana finishing on 19 after a huge swing for six cleared the stands, and when Bairstow and Dawid Malan fell for the loss of eight runs, England's routine-looking chase suddenly seemed uncertain.

Morgan was caught for 11 before Sam Billings and Livingstone steadied the ship, England reaching 69-4 before rain halted proceedings.

Once play resumed with a revised target of 103, Livingstone read a full ball from Dushmantha Chameera and hooked an exquisite shot into the stands to calm any lingering nerves.

Billings was skittled by Hasaranga (2-20) but it mattered little, Curran smashing a six to settle the contest just as the rain began to fall again.

Sri Lanka far too brittle with the bat

England's fifth consecutive T20 win over Sri Lanka had looked nailed on, but it became rather more nail-biting as Hasaranga led an accomplished early attack.

Ultimately, it was too little, too late after another poor batting effort. Sri Lanka entered this match with 28 sixes in T20 matches since the start of 2020, the lowest figure among Test nations, and Udana's final-over flourish produced the only boundaries they managed once Mendis had gone.

 

England make history

England have now won back-to-back multi-game bilateral men's T20 series on home soil for the first time, having beaten Australia 2-1 last September.

While Morgan could only manage 11 runs at a ground where he averaged 102 from his five previous innings, Livingstone and Wood stepped up with bat and ball to make Saturday's third match in Southampton a chance to throw off the shackles.

Jordan Henderson thinks England's hopes of beating Germany in the Euro 2020 last 16 could rest on keeping the ball away from Toni Kroos as much as possible.

Gareth Southgate's side came top of their group, taking seven points from games against Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic without conceding a goal, ensuring they will begin the knockout rounds at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.

There, they will face Germany for the third time at a European Championship and the first in a knockout match since the Three Lions lost on penalties in the semi-finals of Euro 96.

Joachim Low's side scraped through a challenging Group F, Leon Goretzka's late equaliser against Hungary on matchday three ensuring they finished behind France and above Portugal thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

While England's route through the groups was somewhat sedate, with two 1-0 wins and a goalless draw with Scotland, Germany won a six-goal thriller with Portugal before battling to a 2-2 draw with Hungary after falling 1-0 to France.

Amid their inconsistencies, midfielder Kroos has been exemplary for the 2014 world champions. No player has completed more passes at these finals than the Real Madrid man (280), with 217 of those occurring in the opposition half – by far the best return at the tournament.

 

Given Germany have averaged 64.7 per cent of the possession in their games, a figure lower only than Spain (76.1), Henderson is eager to disrupt Kroos' rhythm as much as possible by retaining the ball and getting it into England's forwards.

"They're a top team. You go through every position on the pitch and they've got world-class players everywhere, so it's always going to be a tough game," he said on Thursday.

"With the ball, it's extremely important to keep it, especially against Germany, who are a fantastic team who've got very good technical players who can dominate games with the ball. We need to be defensively solid, like we have been, because they've got players like Kroos that can hurt you.

"He's a world-class player who can really hurt you with time and space, so we need to make sure that, without the ball, we're really solid.

"When we get it, we need to be calm and composed, but also positive with the play, getting the ball forward and trying to create as many chances as we can because we've got some fantastic forward players who can hurt any opposition. If we can get the ball into them and let them do their thing, I think we can be in for a real good night."

Penalties dominate much of the pre-match talk, not least because Germany beat England on home soil on spot-kicks 25 years ago, with current boss Gareth Southgate missing the crucial attempt.

Henderson was in the headlines during the warm-up for this tournament, the Liverpool man taking the ball from Dominic Calvert-Lewin before seeing his penalty saved during the 1-0 friendly win over Romania in Middlesbrough.

"It was blown out of proportion, to be honest, after the game," Henderson said. "Nothing to be said internally. I was obviously disappointed to miss but I was more disappointed for Dom as well because he could have had another goal for England."

Jordan Henderson called for England to ensure they have "no regrets" when the final whistle blows on their Euro 2020 last-16 clash with Germany.

The Three Lions' reward for winning their group is a knockout game against their old rivals at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

Unsurprisingly, the draw has prompted fans to reminisce about past meetings between the sides, including the 1966 World Cup final and the last 16 of the same tournament in 2010.

But while Henderson acknowledged the "special" nature of the fixture, he wants England to do more than just relish the occasion.

He said: "It's a special game for the players, for fans, for everyone, for the neutrals watching. It's a big game and that's what you want to be playing in these tournaments, so it’s very exciting. 

"Everybody will be looking forward to it and, for the players, we have to stay focused and make sure we give everything on the pitch and have no regrets.

"It's exciting, it's a huge game and one that we’ll be looking forward to. We knew whatever team we faced it was going to be a big challenge and Germany will certainly be that, so we need to prepare well, be ready for next week and give everything.

"They are still a very good side. Look at the players they've got, quality all over the pitch. It's going to be a very tough test.

"In games like this, it's not necessarily about form, it's about whoever is better on the night; whoeever puts the better performance in is going to have more chance of winning and we need to make sure we're 100 per cent ready, and I’m sure we will be."

 

The sides' previous meeting in the knockout stages of a European Championship came when the tournament was hosted by England in 1996.

On that occasion, Germany progressed to the final courtesy of a penalty shootout that featured a miss from now Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.

Henderson insisted that tournament disappointment has not been discussed by the current squad but revealed that penalty practice is taking place in preparation for a shootout.

He added: "No, we haven't spoken about it and I’m not sure we will, either. A lot of talk will be on penalties but, for us, being in a penalty shootout not so long ago and we practice penalties all the time, it's just part and parcel of football in tournaments.

"We try to do it seriously because you want to practice properly, the whole process. It’s important you do it properly and you are clear in your mind if you do need to take a penalty.

"Overcoming a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup was a big thing mentally for everyone, so I do think we’ve improved with that over the last few years. 

"That's going to be a big thing on Tuesday. In football or in any sport, mental strength is a huge part of it. I feel we've got a lot of players in the squad who are very mentally strong and that's going to be important."

We had to wait an extra year, but the Euro 2020 group stage threw up drama and records – and in terms of goals it delivered magnificently.

With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku hitting their stride, it was a feast for the strikers, with 94 goals scored across the 36 games.

That represented a massive raising of the bar after only 69 goals were netted at the same stage in the 2016 tournament.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the most eye-catching numbers that defined the first 13 days of this delayed tournament – ahead of the do-or-die knockout stage getting under way.

 

Ronaldo making up for lost time

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score as many as five goals in the group stages of a single European Championship since Michel Platini bagged seven for France in 1984, on his way to a nine-goal tournament tally. Three of Ronaldo's goals for Portugal at this tournament have been penalties, while Platini netted just one spot-kick during France's run 37 years ago.

Impressively, Platini's goals in 1984 came from an expected goals (xG) rate of just 3.32, while Ronaldo has recorded his five from a total of 4.71 so far. Opta builds its expected goals data by measuring the quality of an attempt based on variables such as assist type, shot angle and distance from goal, whether it was a headed shot and whether it was defined as a big chance. It means Ronaldo has put away approximately the number of goals he should have expected to score.

Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot in Wednesday's 2-2 draw with France, the first game in the history of the Euros to see three spot-kicks scored, excluding shoot-outs.

Defending champions Portugal have been far from perfect, however, dropping a competition-high five points from winning positions.

While Ronaldo has the most goals of any player so far in these finals, he has not been able to keep up with the rising tide of own goals. There have been a staggering eight, as many as were scored between the 1980 and 2016 editions combined.

 

Firing range

Why wait until seeing the whites of the goalkeeper's eyes before offloading a shot?

Patrik Schick had one quick glance towards David Marshall's goal and let fly from 49.7 yards at Hampden Park to put the Czech Republic 2-0 in front against Scotland. That incredible moment gave Schick the longest-range strike on record at the European Championship, with such measured distances available from the 1980 tournament onwards.

There were 304 shots from outside the penalty area in the group stage, but only 12 goals scored from such long range. That ratio of one goal for every 25.3 shots from long distance was nevertheless an improvement on the Euro 2016 numbers, when just 16 goals from outside the area were scored from 638 attempts across the whole tournament – one every 39.9 shots.

 

Low Countries, tall targets

Belgium and the Netherlands are nations who have experienced mixed fortunes on the football field in the 21st century, but both will feel a big moment could be arriving.

The Belgian Red Devils were absent from all major tournaments between their appearances at the 2002 and 2014 World Cups, while the Dutch were conspicuous by their absence from Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

Lukaku, with three goals so far, has been a terrific spearhead of the Belgium side, netting 50 per cent of the goals their players have netted (excluding own goals) at Euro 2020 despite only taking 22 per cent of their shots – seven of 32 attempts.

If Lukaku keeps firing, with Kevin De Bruyne and co prompting from midfield, then Belgium, who have never won a World Cup or European Championship, have a strong chance to show why they are ranked by FIFA as the world's number one team.

Belgium exceeded their collective xG tally by 3.15 – scoring seven against xG of 3.85 – the highest number by which any side surpassed their expected goals in their opening three games.

Their neighbours, the Netherlands, have also caught the eye. Ronald Koeman lifted the Oranje from their doldrums and successor Ronald de Boer has guided the team through the group stage as top scorers and with a 100 per cent record.

That Group C success, with eight goals scored and two conceded, came on the back of Georginio Wijnaldum scoring three times. In doing so, he has overtaken Marco van Basten and Dirk Kuyt on the list of the Netherlands' leading international goalscorers, moving to 25, one ahead of the former Milan and Liverpool forwards.

Or, to put it another way, Wijnaldum is halfway to matching Robin van Persie's record haul of 50 international goals.

 

Boring, boring England?

England, by netting only twice, became the lowest-scoring side to ever finish top of a group at a European Championship. They did not so much storm through Group D as plod a methodical path through to the last-16 stage, although an xG of 4.45 suggests England have at least been creating chances, albeit not finishing as well as they might.

Yet England might yet go far. Germany visit Wembley next Tuesday and will encounter English players who have only been dribbled past 12 times in the group stage, the lowest number among all competing teams. England's expected goals against (xGA) tally is a miserly 1.33, the second lowest in the tournament behind an Italy side (1.3) who have got it right at both ends of the pitch to.

Turkey's players were dribbled past on 36 occasions, a group-stage high, and only North Macedonia (8.85) had a higher xGA than Senol Gunes' team (7.69), who failed to live up to 'dark horse' expectations.

 

Riding their luck? Or being all out of it?

Wales conceded just twice, defying an xGA total of 5.47, and reached the knockout stage on the back of that. The gap of 3.47 between expectation and reality with that metric was the highest among all competing teams.

Conversely, Scotland scored just once against an xG of 4.00 – with 3.00 the highest negative difference between xG and goals scored.

Russia bowed out, and could hardly blame anyone but themselves. Their players made three errors leading to goals – more than any other side and the joint-most by any nation at a finals going back to 1980, the point from which records are available.

Hungary also exited the tournament. They predictably finished last in the 'group of death' – adrift of France, Germany and Portugal – but Hungary were surprisingly ahead for more minutes and trailed for fewer than any other team in that Group F campaign.

Denmark squeezed through in second place behind Belgium in Group B, becoming the first team in European Championship history to reach the knockout stages of the competition having lost their first two group stage games. After the alarm of the Christian Eriksen situation, many would love them to go further.

Would you Luka that!

Luka Modric became the oldest player to score for Croatia at the Euros, netting a gorgeous strike in the 3-1 win against Scotland at the age of 35 years and 286 days. That made it an unusual double for the veteran playmaker, who also holds the record for being Croatia's youngest scorer at the tournament (22 years 73 days versus Austria in 2008).

Modric continues to marvel, and there was a slice of history for another midfielder in the group stage as Switzerland's Steven Zuber became only the third player since 1980 to register three assists in a single European Championship game – doing so against Turkey – after Portugal's Rui Costa in his rampaging 2000 display that tormented England and Denmark's Michael Laudrup in 1984 against Yugoslavia.

Joachim Low said Germany will "perform differently" when they face England in the Euro 2020 knockout stage, after an error-strewn performance against Hungary.

Leon Goretzka scored a late equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw at Allianz Arena, where Hungary twice took the lead in Munich on Wednesday.

But Low was pleased with the way Germany, who reached the semi-finals of the last two European Championships, fought back to claim a draw that secured second place in Group F, behind France.

"We had an extremely good attitude; we made mistakes, but we fought," Germany head coach Low told reporters.

"It wasn't a game for the faint of heart. We knew that Hungary would give everything and that it would be as close as it was.

"To get through this group in the end, that was good and that was the goal. France also only drew 1-1 against Hungary, the so-called little ones gave everything. It wasn't easy, they had nothing to lose.

"But in the end what counts is that we are through."

Jamal Musiala, who at 18 years and 117 days became the youngest ever player to make an appearance for Germany at a major tournament when he replaced Robin Gosens, earned praise from Low.

"Musiala was cheeky," Low of the Bayern Munich teenager. "He secured the ball, and gave a very good performance."

Looking ahead to Tuesday's last-16 clash with England, who Germany defeated on penalties at the old Wembley Stadium in the semi-finals of Euro '96, Low said: "This is an absolute highlight when you can play against England at Wembley.

"We will be well prepared and we will perform differently, I can promise.

"It's great that we got through in this tough group."

England maintained their 100 per cent record in Twenty20 games played at Sophia Gardens thanks to a resounding eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their series opener.

Jos Buttler made 68 not out as England made it seven wins from seven at the venue in Cardiff, this latest triumph sealed with 17 balls to spare as they easily overhauled Sri Lanka's below-par 129-7.

Jason Roy gave the chase a fast start with 36 from 22 deliveries in an 80-run opening stand with Buttler, who hit eight fours and a six during his 55-ball knock.

Wanindu Hasaranga did excel with the ball for the tourists, giving up just 12 runs in his four-over spell, while Isuru Udana bowled Dawid Malan for seven off 14 balls. Jonny Bairstow finished up unbeaten on 13.

Sri Lanka had earlier been indebted to a half-century from Dasun Shanaka, his second at international level in the format, having opted to bat first after winning the toss.

Danushka Gunathilaka made 19 at the top of the order and captain Kusal Perera contributed 30, but the tourists struggled for momentum as they slipped to 79-5 at the start of the 14th over.

Adil Rashid claimed 2-17 in four economical overs, while there was a wicket for Liam Livingstone too. Shanaka made sure Sri Lanka at least finished strongly, hitting three fours and a pair of sixes as 25 came from the final two overs, but their total was no problem for England's powerful batting line-up.


Opening role just perfect for Buttler

Buttler has made clear his desire to continue opening in T20 action for England - and the numbers support his case. This was his ninth half-century in 20 innings at the top of the order, with the milestone arriving from 38 balls with a pulled four to the square leg boundary.

Tourists toil again in format

Sri Lanka have lost 10 of their previous 11 completed T20 matches, a worrying run of form with a World Cup to come later in the year. They do not have to wait long for an opportunity to draw level in this series at least, as the teams meet again at the same venue on Thursday.

Jack Grealish harbours ambitions of following in the footsteps of Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney by displaying his talent on an international stage after impressing in England's win over the Czech Republic.

The Aston Villa attacking midfielder was afforded his opportunity to start in the Three Lions' final Euro 2020 Group D fixture, having only appeared as a substitute against Scotland in their opening two matches.

Fans and pundits alike had been clamouring for Grealish to be given a chance and it was the 25-year-old who provided the delicate chipped cross for Raheem Sterling to nod in the only goal in a 1-0 win that secured top spot in the pool.

As well as his assist, Grealish completed 83.3 per cent of his passes in the opposition half, won 62.5 per cent of his duels and drew three fouls for his team – the latter a trait many suggest should see him start more regularly due to England's perceived strength at set-pieces.

Grealish's charisma off the pitch as well as his courageous attacking play on it have drawn comparisons to some of England's stars of the past such as Gascoigne and Rooney, and the man himself is eager to be revered by fans for his displays at the tournament.

"I have spoken about how big these tournaments can be in players' careers," Grealish said in quotes reported by Sky Sports.

"If you look back and think of Gazza at Italia 90, that is where he first made a… well he was obviously still well known before, but I think everyone remembers him for that tournament especially.

"You look at Wayne Rooney in Euro 2004 – I think that was where he set his marker to say I am going to be one of the best in the world.

"I am hoping to follow in their footsteps and hopefully I can do that if I get more chances in this tournament."

 

Grealish made his England bow back in September and has nine caps to his name but has yet to cement his place in Gareth Southgate's starting XI.

The external noise for Grealish to be given a more prominent role only increased after a drab goalless draw against Scotland, but he insists there was no added pressure on his shoulders to perform.

"I don't think it is pressure. I love playing football. That is what I am paid to do. That is what I have been born to do," he added.

"I just play football every day of my life. When I go out there and play it is no pressure on me whatsoever. I go out there and just enjoy myself like I always do.

"I felt like I had a good performance good but I still maybe felt like in the second half I could have got on the ball a little more and probably tried to dictate the game a little more from an England point of view."

Gareth Southgate lauded Bukayo Saka for earning his England chance and grabbing it in Tuesday's Euro 2020 win over the Czech Republic.

Raheem Sterling's 12th-minute goal was enough for the Three Lions to earn top spot in Group D and secure a home last-16 tie at Wembley, even though France, Portugal and Germany comprise a daunting list of potential opponents.

Mason Mount being forced to self-isolate meant Southgate was able to satisfy a national clamour to start Jack Grealish.

The Aston Villa playmaker supplied the cross for Sterling to head his and England's second goal of the tournament and provide flashes of skill to bring the Wembley crowd to their feet.

But it was Arsenal teenager Saka – a surprise inclusion ahead of the likes of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford – who was the most consistently impressive attacker on display, with his driving run and neat close control key in the move for Sterling's winner.

"Bukayo, I can't speak highly enough of him," Southgate said after the winger was named UEFA's Star of the Match.

"He's earned that opportunity. His performances in training since he's joined this camp have been outstanding.

"He played well in the game at the Riverside [a 1-0 win over Austria where Saka scored the winner]. We've talked about playing him in some of the previous matches.

"He earned that chance tonight and he's grabbed it. He was fabulous."

 

While Saka is enjoying his international breakthrough, Sterling has been a mainstay for Southgate.

Patchy form for Manchester City in the second half of this season led to calls for the 26-year-old to be dropped but the England manager's faith never wavered in a player who now has 14 goals for his country since failing to find the net at the 2018 World Cup.

"We always felt that we can’t have all the scoring burden lie with Harry [Kane] and over the past couple of years – probably since the game in Seville [a 3-2 Nations League win over Spain where Sterling scored twice], that was a real lift-off moment for Raheem – he's transferred his club goalscoring form into the matches with us.

"When you can get wide players scoring in that way as well it's a huge lift for the team.

"We've had no doubts about [Sterling], we were very clear on that.

"We know at the end of the season he wasn't necessarily a regular for his club but perhaps we're reaping the benefit of that in that he's a little bit fresher than he might have been."

Harry Maguire headed into the tournament far from fresh, nursing an ankle injury that ruled him out of Manchester United's Europa League final penalty shootout loss to Villarreal.

But the centre-back returned to partner with John Stones and led England to a third clean sheet out of three at Euro 2016, producing an authoritative performance.

"Harry has that presence and composure," Southgate said. "His pass through to Kane in the first half was a fabulous ball through the lines. There aren't many defenders in world football who can do that.

"It was important for him to get those 90 minutes.

Southgate added: "We've noted over the last 12 months and certainly the last six months that when you become the captain of Manchester United the impact that must have on your confidence – the improvement in his leadership and desire to step forward and have an influence on the wider group shines through."

Bukayo Saka says England will be confident of beating whoever comes second in Euro 2020's 'group of death' at Wembley after beating the Czech Republic 1-0 to win Group D.

Raheem Sterling's early header was enough for Gareth Southgate's side to move above their opponents and finish the group stage without conceding a goal, an achievement they have only managed at two previous major tournaments.

The Three Lions will do battle with world champions France, Germany, holders Portugal or Hungary next Tuesday for a place in the quarter-finals.

Versatile Arsenal teenager Saka, so impressive in his first appearance at a major tournament after coming into the side along with Jack Grealish, Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker, says home advantage with a crowd of 45,000 can help drive England into the last eight.

He told ITV Sport: "It's really important [to play at Wembley in the last 16]. This is our home. We've won a lot of games here – it's nice to come back here. Whoever we face next, we'll be confident we can beat them."

England came in for criticism following a flat performance in a goalless draw with Scotland last Friday but carried a bigger threat four days later.

The livewire Saka's surging run put the Czech Republic on the back foot in a sweeping move that ended with Sterling nodding home Grealish's cross and the 19-year-old was delighted to grasp his opportunity.

"It was a really good performance from us. We played some really good football at times," said Saka. "With us already having qualified, we had more freedom to express ourselves. That showed in some of the football we played.

"The manager told me to go out and express myself, to play how I have played for my club all season. Sometimes that means driving at the opponents and I did that and got us up the pitch.

"It was a good cross from Jack for the goal and Raheem was in the right place at the right time again. I was up there but not quite tall enough.

"It is important to be here at Wembley for the round of 16. We have won here a lot. With our fans it is an extra man for us. I can only give my best when I am on the pitch."

The Czech Republic finished in third place below Croatia – 3-1 winners over Scotland – on goals scored and will face the Netherlands or the winners of Group E.

England progress on the back of keeping clean sheets in every group stage match at a major tournament for only the third time, also doing so at the 1966 World Cup (three matches) and in the second group stage of the 1982 World Cup (two matches).

England, Croatia and the Czech Republic are all heading into the last 16 of Euro 2020 following their respective results on Tuesday, but it was an unhappy evening for Scotland.

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions did what was required to secure top spot, knowing that anything other than a victory would have seen the Czech Republic go through as Group D winners.

At Hampden Park it was a straight shootout between Croatia and Scotland, with the victors prolonging their tournament or both departing early in the event of a draw.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform reviews the best facts from Group D's conclusion.

Czech Republic 0-1 England: Three Lions in historic progression despite struggles in front of goal

Much was made of England's toothless showing in the 0-0 draw with Scotland, with Harry Kane bearing the brunt of the criticism.

They were a little more effective against the Czechs as they at least managed to find the net once, and that was all they needed to reach the knockout stages of the Euros for their fourth consecutive tournament participation (2004, 2012 and 2016).

While Southgate's side played some vibrant football at times, there is still reason for concern in attack – they are the lowest-scoring Euros group winners in the competition's history (two goals).

They failed to attempt a single shot at goal in the second half of a match for the first time since October 2018, with their latest effort falling to Kane in the 26th minute.

Nevertheless, Jack Grealish seemed to justify his selection as he provided the assist for Raheem Sterling's crucial first-half header – the Aston Villa man has set up more goals for England (three) since his debut last September than any other player despite only featuring in nine of their 15 matches in that time.

There seems a strong possibility Grealish has earned his place in the team for the next game, and the same could be said for Sterling, who has now been involved in 20 goals (14 goals, six assists) in his past 19 games for England – he has ended up on the winning side in all 12 matches when finding the net for the national team.

 

Croatia 3-1 Scotland: Clarke's men cannot buck the trend

Scotland were buoyed by their 0-0 draw with England in the previous game, but against Croatia it was a similar story to their Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic.

Although Callum McGregor became Scotland's first Euros scorer since June 1996 with his equaliser late in the first half, Croatia's quality shone through in the second period.

Luka Modric put the visitors in front with a gorgeous outside-of-the-boot effort to become Croatia's oldest ever Euros goalscorer (35 years, 286 days) – he also still holds the record for their youngest scorer in the tournament (22y, 73d in 2008).

Ivan Perisic then made sure of the victory towards the end, glancing in a Modric corner to go level with Davor Suker as Croatia's all-time leading scorer at major tournament with nine goals.

It was Croatia's first ever win over Scotland in six meetings and consigned the Scots to successive defeats at Hampden Park for the first time since September 2019.

Scotland have now been eliminated at the group stages in all 11 of their appearances at major tournaments.

 

When Luke Shaw lifted a delightful ball over the top of the Czech Republic defence during the early stages of England's 1-0 Euro 2020 win on Friday, Raheem Sterling was away.

Of course he was. The Manchester City's forwards intelligent, incisive movement has been a vital asset for club and country over the past five years – a period in which he has become one of his country's most decorated footballers in terms of major honours.

But what would happen next?

Could it be as bad as that time he blazed over two clear chances in the Manchester derby on a day City were 2-0 up and set to win the league against their bitter rivals and lost 3-2?

Maybe it would end up as wince-inducing as the open goal he missed when his club crashed out of the Champions League against Lyon in 2020 at the quarter-final stage, or the two-yard miss that persuaded Pep Guardiola to immediately substitute him at Burnley two years earlier?

Or the full campaign at Russia 2018 when he did not find the net during England's run to the semi-finals?

Yes, Sterling misses chances. Quite a lot of quite good ones.

 

According to Opta, he scored 11 but missed 19 of the 'big chances' that fell his way for the Premier League champions in all competitions last season. It was part of the reason Guardiola increasingly left him on the bench.

But Sterling is the sort of player who always comes back for more. The sort who never hides – a quality that starts to look increasingly valuable amid the vicious maelstrom that is England at a major tournament.

Joy delayed but not denied

As it happened, the shot was not one to fit in with that catalogue of misses. Sterling dispatched a deft lob over Tomas Vaclik and was unfortunate to see the effort ricochet clear off the post, continuing a strange quirk for England games in this tournament. In the early knockings versus Croatia and Scotland, Phil Foden and John Stones each rattled uprights.

As was the case in both of those games, even the dour draw with Scotland – where Sterling created the best chance of the night for Mason Mount and had a reasonable late penalty claim rejected – the forward was a nuisance.

Gareth Southgate's decision to bow to the Jack Grealish clamour and give Bukayo Saka a surprise start gave England a little more vibrancy, also allowing Sterling to pester the opposition defence more centrally and ensure Harry Kane was a less isolated figure. The England captain went close but remains without a goal in this tournament. Only one player has manged to score for the Three Lions.

You might struggle to remember Sterling was the matchwinner on the opening weekend against Croatia. Calls for Grealish and the perplexingly sidelined Jadon Sancho have left Sterling as a casualty in the XIs of many a pundit and fan.

 

The 26-year-old's vile treatment by a section of the tabloid press has been well documented. But Sterling scepticism goes far beyond such reactionary outposts.

After his second-half strike sunk Croatia and sent England on their way to top spot in the group, the BBC television interviewer asked whether Sterling had justified his place in the team, despite being the Three Lions' top scorer from open play since Russia 2018.

The Athletic, very much the antithesis of the UK red tops, ran an article in the build-up to the Czech Republic game where eight of its writers picked their England XI. Two featured Sterling.

The annoying one

He is, at times, an annoying footballer. That is not just down to the catalogue of horror misses outlined above.

A source told Stats Perform last year that an aspect of improvement identified for Sterling by Guardiola's coaching staff was his control of the ball, which seems a staggeringly basic thing for a star forward in a high-end football team. There was an example of this when he sold Kalvin Phillips short with a very routine pass after half-time, forcing the Leeds United midfielder into a foul for which he was fortunate not to be booked.

But again, we return to that capacity to make things happen, which feels vital for an England team constructing 90-minute portions where not much happens.

When things do happen, it is thrilling and you wish they happened more often.

Saka tore at the Czech Republic in the 12th minute – left-back Jan Boril will not reflect too fondly upon having shared a pitch with the livewire Arsenal youngster.

His eventual delivery found its way to Grealish, who clipped a delightful left-footed cross to the back post. Sterling couldn't miss. Well, as discussed above, he could. But he didn't, nodding home to stand tall in a time of need for Southgate once more.

Saka and Grealish hogged the initial post-match conversation, not undeservedly. Stones and the returning Harry Maguire marshalled the backline superbly and Luke Shaw impressed going backwards and forwards.

Three clean sheets out of three are not to be sniffed at. But England's tendency for lulls in-game and to trudge through some stodgy moments still feels regrettable given the attacking talent at Southgate's disposal.

 

The Czech Republic were beaten 5-0 in the opening qualifier for Euro 2020 and England looked a team to be feared in a way they don't right now. Sterling, in red-hot form, scored a hat-trick.

Whether his national team are soaring high or quietly plugging, time and again he has shown his worth.

There are plenty of causes for concern around this England team. The man who has scored the winning goal in each of their victories and always makes life miserable for opposition defenders is absolutely not one of them.

Stop dropping Sterling from the XIs you put on Twitter. It makes you look silly.

Raheem Sterling scored his second goal of Euro 2020 as England beat the Czech Republic 1-0 to win Group D and ensure they will play at Wembley in the round of 16.

Sterling headed home in the first half of the Three Lions' final group game to move Gareth Southgate's side above their opponents and set up a showdown with France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary next Tuesday.

The Czech Republic had their chances and must wait to discover their next opponents after slipping to third as a result of Croatia's 3-1 win over Scotland.

Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka impressed as they came into the side along with Harry Maguire, who played 90 minutes on his return from an ankle injury for an England side that have not conceded a goal in the tournament.

The Three Lions started with great intensity and they were almost in front when Sterling lobbed Tomas Vaclik but struck the far post after he was picked out by a clever pass from Luke Shaw.

Sterling did not have long to wait for the opening goal, though, nodding home from close range 12 minutes in when the influential Grealish stood up a delightful cross from the left to the back post in a move that started with an incisive run from Saka.

Vaclik denied Harry Kane with a reflex save following a brilliant pass from Maguire, but the Czech Republic also had their chances in an entertaining first half.

Tomas Holes forced a fine reflex save from Jordan Pickford with a powerful strike and Tomas Soucek flashed a shot just wide, before Kane called Vaclik into action once again.

Both sides made a change at the break, Jordan Henderson replacing Declan Rise and Petr Sevcik on for Jakub Jankto.

The Czech Republic suffered a blow when Jan Boril was booked for a foul on the lively Saka, ruling him out of his side's last-16 tie.

Henderson had a late goal disallowed, but England responded to a lacklustre display in a goalless draw with Scotland with a second 1-0 win of the tournament.

Jack Grealish and Harry Maguire will start England's Euro 2020 Group D match against the Czech Republic at Wembley, with Arsenal's Bukayo Saka a surprise inclusion in Gareth Southgate's XI.

Grealish was a second-half substitute in England's 0-0 draw against Scotland last Friday and Mason Mount being forced into self-isolation after a coronavirus scare has cleared the way for the Aston Villa favourite to start in the number 10 role.

Raheem Sterling – the scorer of England's only goal in the tournament so far – and captain Harry Kane retain their places, with Saka completing the forward line.

The 19-year-old netted his first international goal in a friendly against Austria earlier this month and is preferred to the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, the Borussia Dortmund winger who is yet to feature at Euro 2020 despite 16 goals and 18 assists at club level in 2020-21.

Manchester United skipper Maguire returns to partner John Stones at centre-back following ankle ligament damage and the duo are charged with keeping Golden Boot contender Patrik Schick, the spearhead of an unchanged Czech line-up, quiet.

 

Schick has three goals in two outings so far and a draw will be enough for his country to deny England top spot.

England's fourth and final change from the Scotland match is Kyle Walker's inclusion at right-back, although his Manchester City team-mate Phil Foden is not in the matchday squad, with Southgate electing to rest the playmaker due to a yellow card he collected against Croatia, which put him at risk of suspension for the round of 16.

England duo Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell will miss the match with the Czech Republic and must self-isolate up to and including June 28.

It was confirmed on Monday that the Chelsea players had begun isolating after being deemed close contacts of Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for coronavirus after Scotland's 0-0 draw with England at Wembley last Friday.

The Football Association said the precautions had been taken after consultation with Public Health England, despite both players returning negative PCR and lateral flow test results.

On Tuesday, the FA said Chilwell and Mount will train individually in private areas of England's St. George's Park base, where the rest of the squad will return after their final Group D match with the Czech Republic.

It means that, should England win and top the group, Mount and Chilwell will miss the last-16 match, which takes place on June 29.

If Gareth Southgate's side fail to take three points, they will finish second in the group behind the Czech Republic, meaning their first knockout match will be on June 28.

England said via Twitter: "We can confirm that Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount must isolate up to and including next Monday [28 June]. This decision has been taken in consultation with Public Health England.

"The pair were confirmed overnight as close contacts of Scotland’s Billy Gilmour after his positive test following last Friday's match.

"Chilwell and Mount will isolate and train individually in private areas at England’s training base St. George's Park, with the rest of the squad returning there after tonight's fixture against Czech Republic at Wembley.

"We will continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols and the UEFA testing regime, while remaining in close contact with PHE.

"The entire England squad and staff had lateral flow tests on Monday and all were again negative, as was the case with Sunday's UEFA pre-match PCR tests. 

"Further tests will be carried out as and when appropriate."

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