Date: June 20, 2016
Result: Slovakia 0 England 0
Venue: Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Etienne
England qualified for the knockout stages after a 0-0 draw with Slovakia in Saint-Etienne but had to be content with second place in the group after Wales’ victory over Russia. Back in the stadium where they lost to Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, England did not experience the same heartache as 18 years ago. But they now face a Round of 16 game in Nice next Sunday against one of the best third-placed teams, with France as likely quarter-final opponents if they progress.
A much-changed England side dominated possession but could not find a way through the massed ranks of Slovakia’s defence. Keeper Matus Kozacik made a series of important saves, denying Jamie Vardy and Adam, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, while captain Martin Skrtel also cleared off the line from England substitute Dele Alli.
Slovakia were content to defend for a point and, with four points, are likely to qualify as one of the best third-placed sides after holding out against England.
Adam Lallana saw his fierce shot parried away by Slovakia keeper Matus Kozacik after fine build-up play by Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Clyne aftre half an hour. It was the closest England came despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
Man of the match:
Slovakia keeper Matus Kozacik made excellent saves to deny England on several occasions.
Matter of fact:
England failed to score in the first half of a European Championship match for the fifth time in succession.
Roy Hodgson made significant changes for England’s final group game, resting Wayne Rooney, Dele Alli and both full-backs, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, as well as starting with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge, the strikers who had such an impact as half-time substitutes against Wales. Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere came into midfield.
The changes did little to disrupt England’s energetic approach, with Henderson particularly effective and linking well with Liverpool team-mate Sturridge. Vardy and Adam Lallana both tested Slovakia keeper Matus Kozacik in the first half but Slovakia defended valliantly, aware a draw would guarantee them third place in the group.
Wilshere was less of a success and was replaced by Rooney early in the second half as Hodgson reverted to his plan A. Another sub, Alli, almost scored with one of his first touches, a volley from Henderson’s cross.
England ended the match with many of the players Hodgson had begun the group stages with, including Rooney, Alli, Kane. But none could find a way through the defence of a Slovakia side that was determined to cling on for a point.
Attempts on target
23 Matus Kozacik
02 Peter Pekarik
03 Martin Skrtel
04 Jan Durica
07 Vladimir Weiss (14 Milan Skriniar 78)
08 Ondrej Duda (18 Dusan Svento 57)
15 Tomas Hubocan
17 Marek Hamsik
19 Juraj Kucka
20 Robert Mak
22 Viktor Pecovsky (05 Norbert Gyomber 66)
Starting formation: 4-5-1
Kozacik – Pekarik, Skrtel, Durica, Hubocan – Mak, Kucka, Pecovsky, Hamsik, Weiss – Duda
05 Gary Cahill
06 Chris Smalling
08 Adam Lallana (20 Dele Alli 60)
11 Jamie Vardy
12 Nathaniel Clyne
14 Jordan Henderson
15 Daniel Sturridge (09 Harry Kane 75)
17 Eric Dier
18 Jack Wilshere (10 Wayne Rooney 56)
21 Ryan Bertrand
Starting formation: 4-3-3
Hart – Clyne, Smalling, Cahill, Bertrand – Henderson, Dier, Wilshere – Lallana, Vardy, Sturridge
Slovakia: Pecovksy 23
England: Bertrand 51
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spa)