With a place in the round of 16 secured before returning to the field, England have the chance to rediscover its attacking flair on Tuesday at Euro 2020 against the Czech Republic.
“We have to produce the football that gives the crowd the excitement they want, and the results they want,” English coach Gareth Southgate said on Monday. ‘If you were disappointing, you want to perform better right away. The players have the desire to do it. I have the desire to do it. ‘
Since the 0-0 draw with Scotland, Southgate and his players have been trying to assess the team’s shortcomings before completing Group D at Wembley Stadium.
“We just could not break them down, so we talked about it,” Southgate said. ‘We talked about what we would have to do differently against them or against that kind of system in the future. But tomorrow we play a totally different team and a very good team. “
The Czech Republic is in Group D in first place, ahead of England on the goal difference. The four points the teams have are enough to be sure they will finish at least among the top four third-place teams that qualify for the round of 16.
It will return to its home stadium in the next round if England can oust the Czech Republic from first place. There would be a trip to Copenhagen if England stayed second.
The one interruption in the English setup is the uncertainty over the availability of midfielder Mason Mount, who has started both games so far, and Ben Chilwell, the fullback. They started isolating Monday as a precaution after being deemed to have interacted with Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour on Friday, who tested positive for the coronavirus.
“We have to accept whatever the situation is and adapt to it,” Southgate said.
English winger Raheem Sterling feels there has been an “overreaction” to Scotland’s result, which is not reflected in the vote in the English camp.
“I just feel that there is more panic on the outside than inside the building,” he said. “At the same time, the players who have been to a few tournaments, who have a lot of experience, try to help the others.”
Southgate tried to relax its players by carrying out the previous group report of successful teams. Like Portugal, who drew all three of the matches at the start of Euro 2016 and then won the trophy.
“He always shows us the best possible scenarios, the worst possible scenarios – this is not the end of the world,” Sterling said. “He has only shown us in previous tournaments that it is not every team that wins their first few matches.
“Sometimes teams that have drawn their first two games have won, so we need to stay motivated, happy and enjoy our football.”
Sterling has carried the bulk of criticism for England over the years, especially in the last 16 exit to Iceland during Euro 2016. Harry Kane, who was singled out for England’s fight against Scotland.
“He was our best player, our most influential player, our most important player for a long time,” Southgate said. ‘There were moments in which Raheem probably had periods in which he was also critical to our success in terms of goal shooting. But Harry was our best goal scorer throughout. ”
The winner of the 2018 World Cup will not be left out for the match against the Czech Republic, although he did not succeed in either of the Euro 2020 matches or was a shot on target.
“We as a team obviously need to produce more for him, more crosses in the box,” Sterling said. “He will be the first person to be disappointed, but at the same time I know when there is very little that Harry will be there, that’s for sure.”
The Euro 2020 points table is awarded with some well-known names and a lesser-known forward. The Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo, the Romelu Lukaku from Belgium and the Georginio Wijnaldum from the Netherlands with three goals, are Patrik Schick from the Czech Republic.
“We know that England have an excellent player of the best quality,” said Schick. ‘But in their first games they did not create too many chances, maybe they struggled a bit in the attack.
“But as a team they will always be difficult to play against. We have to prepare as well as we can, and of course we want to win, get three points and ensure the qualification of this group.”