July 20, 2024

 

England produced an alarmingly poor performance as they struggled to a 1-1 draw with Denmark and missed the chance to book their place in the knockouts at Euro 2024.

After Slovenia and Serbia had drawn earlier in the day, England kicked off knowing victory over the Danes would confirm them as pool winners – and they looked on course for the last 16 when Harry Kane converted from close range after a rapid Kyle Walker picked the pocket of a sleeping Victor Kristiansen.

However, England were criticised for sitting back after going ahead against Serbia in their Euros opener and they did exactly the same here. Gareth Southgate’s side, dropping deep and lacking intensity, were wayward with their passing. Jude Bellingham – the star on Sunday – was anonymous, Trent Alexander-Arnold out of sorts in midfield.

There were scrappy, dangerous moments in the England box as Denmark sought an equaliser but there was nothing scruffy about Morten Hjulmand’s stunning leveller, which he hammered in off a post after Kane gave the ball away deep in his own half.

Bukayo Saka tried to rally his side after the break, looping a header over Kasper Schmeichel and into the side-netting and he was unable to turn in the rebound when Phil Foden drove against an upright after the disappointing Alexander-Arnold had been hooked. Southgate’s midfield experiment with the Liverpool man will surely be paused now.

The England head coach is rarely bold but this performance demanded an intervention and it came with a triple change on 69 minutes. Ollie Watkins, Jarrod Bowen and Eberechi Eze on. Captain Kane, Saka and Foden off. And there was almost an instant impact with Watkins nipping in behind the Danish defence before his shot was saved from a tight angle.

But with the otherwise impressive Marc Guehi having to frantically recover after giving the ball away and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg whistling a shot wide, England couldn’t shake off their lethargy. Progress remains in their own hands going into the final group game with Slovenia on Tuesday – but they won’t be going far in Germany with this kind of display.

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