Slovakia 0-0 England

Hodgson made 6 changes (Clyne and Bertrand for Walker and Rose, Wilshere and Henderson for Alli and Rooney and Sturridge and Vardy for Sterling and Kane). Kane and Sterling not playing was expected, with both having been replaced against Wales after poor first half performances. England controlled the game, but struggled to create clear chances, with the best chance going to Jamie Vardy, who ran on to a through ball, but his shot was saved by the keeper. Hodgson brought on Rooney, Alli and Kane, but England were unable to find a way through against a resolute Slovakian defence.

England have qualified second in the group and will play the runners-up of Group F, which will be found out tomorrow. The game highlighted a problem with the format of the tournament, as Slovakia seemed very happy to play for a draw, secure a point to move themselves onto 4 points and all but guarantee qualification for the last 16 (now secured) as one of the 4 best third-placed teams. With the old format of only the top two qualifying, Slovakia would have had to play a more attacking game, which would likely have resulted in a more open game. However, Slovakia must be congratulated for sticking with their game plan and preventing England from breaking them down to secure the result they wanted. I think Hodgson missed a trick in not bringing on Barkley – in a game where the opposition were packing the defence (strikers were taken off for defenders), Barkley could have produced a bit of magic to unlock the defence and break the deadlock.


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