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England 0-0 Scotland: Three Lions frustrated by impressive Scots in Euros stalemate at Wembley

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

For all the talk of fireworks and emotion on a night that was expected to deliver high tension, this was a game that failed to live up to the hype.

England were disjointed and ultimately short of ideas against a limited Scotland, who reduced them to a bare minimum of chances from open play.

Harry Kane, who warned that he would not be silenced, was duly silenced.

Phil Foden, sporting a bleached hair job to echo Paul Gascoigne at Euro ‘96, was just as ineffective as England’s captain.

And even when Southgate answered Wembley’s call for Grealish, the Aston Villa playmaker could make little difference.

No damage done – but this was not a performance to give the nation Euros fever. Instead it was an utter turn off. Short on quality and drama after such a grand build up.

Compare that to ‘96 and Gazza’s wonder goal that truly got the nation behind Terry Venables’ team.

By the end of this match it was the massively outnumbered Scotland fans who could be heard the loudest, with England guilty of failing to lift the 20,000 home supporters with the type of rousing performance the occasion deserved.

Of biggest concern for Southgate will be the role of Kane, whether he chooses to admit it or not.

Just as against Croatia, the Tottenham striker was virtually anonymous – though a complete lack of service is partly to blame for that.

Whether dropping deep or prowling the box, he can do little without the ammunition to feed off and this was a game when England’s attack failed to produce.

Raheem Sterling was their most dangerous outlet once more – creating chances for Mason Mount and Foden in each half, but it was Stones who had the best opportunity to settle the game from an 11th-minute corner.

Rising unmarked to meet Mount’s set piece, he only had to pick his spot to beat David Marshall – but sent a header crashing against the post.

Moments later Sterling dispossessed Scott McTominay just outside the box and cross to Mount, who made connection yards out from goal, but fired wide.

Southgate made two changes from the team that Croatia, with Reece James and Luke Shaw coming in to add more of an attacking threat in the fullback roles, compared to Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier.

Fit again Harry Maguire started on the bench.

It pointed to a more progressive approach to the first game, with England expecting their fullbacks to get higher up the pitch.

Despite those intentions, England failed to register a shot on target in the first half, as, just as they did against Croatia, they lost their way for periods.

Scotland weathered those early scares and might have opened the scoring when Stephen O’Donnell connected with a volley after 30 minutes. Wembley held its breath, but Jordan Pickford was down quickly to get a hand to the shot. Even then, the rebound came out to Che Adams, he could not direct his effort on target with the net unguarded.

England had to improve and did so in the second half when Foden and Mount both went close in the first moments after the restart.

There was also more control in possession after being wasteful with the ball in the first 45 minutes. One sustained period of control ended with Kane feeding James, who fired wide from the edge of the area.

The time had come for Grealish and Wembley was at its loudest since the anthems to greet his arrival.

When he could not spark an immediate improvement, on came Marcus Rashford for the muted Kane.

Yet still there was no noticeable improvement aside from a late goalmouth scramble from which it would have been cruel on Scotland to concede.

Read More

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