Group D has reached its conclusion with varying degrees of success for the home nations, as England booked a meeting in the last 16 with one of Europe’s big boys, while Scotland finished bottom. Here’s how an intriguing night of action unfolded...
England Top The Group With Reinvigorated Performance
Gareth Southgate’s England looked like a rejuvenated side as the manager made four changes and Bukayo Saka starred. The 19-year-old’s direct running caused the Czech Republic constant problems while the returning Harry Maguire also made it through the 90 minutes unscathed as England won 1-0. There was no goal for Harry Kane, instead Raheem Sterling nodded in his second of the tournament while the hosts made it eight clean sheets out of their last nine games.
That statistic also means England have kept three clean sheets in a first round group stage for the first time since 1966, despite using eight different defenders in their back four.
Czech Republic finished third in the group due to results elsewhere but their place in the last 16 was assured before they kicked a ball. England will now have 45,000 fans behind them at Wembley for their first knockout game, which promises to be the glamour tie of the round. Depending on who finishes second in Group F, the Three Lions will play France, Portugal, Germany or Hungary next Tuesday.
With Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell isolating until Monday, they are unlikely to start, which means opportunity knocks for the likes of Jack Grealish and potentially Saka, although Phil Foden will be back after he was rested to avoid picking up a booking that would have ruled him out of that last-16 tie.
Scotland Dumped Out As Croatia Win At Hampden
Scotland’s joy at Wembley on Friday turned to despair as Croatia beat them 3-1 at Hampden Park to leave them bottom of Group D. That means in Scotland’s first major tournament since 1998, they have exited at the group stage for the 11th consecutive time. The Scots have never made it to the knockout stage of any major tournament and now the wait goes on as Croatia’s class proved too much for them.
Croatia took the lead thanks to Nikola Vlasic’s close-range drive but Scotland levelled the scores thanks to Callum McGregor.
But Luka Modric struck with one of the goals of the tournament, using the outside of that magical right boot to curl the ball into the top corner. He later teed up Ivan Perisic to put the final nail in the coffin as Croatia finally showed signs of the side that reached the World Cup final in 2018.
The end of the road for Scotland, but with this group of players and Steve Clarke in charge, it shouldn’t be a 23-year wait until their next tournament appearance.
Round of 16 as it stands
With England confirmed as group winners and Croatia through as runners-up, here is what we know of the Round of 16 draw...
Saturday 26 June, 5pm BST: Wales v Denmark (Amsterdam)
Saturday 26 June, 8pm BST: Italy v Austria (Wembley)
Sunday 27 June, 5pm BST: Netherlands v Group D/F 3rd place (Budapest)
Sunday 27 June, 8pm BST: Belgium v Group A/E/F 3rd place (Seville)
Monday 28 June, 5pm BST: Croatia v Group E runner-up (Copenhagen)
Monday 28 June, 8pm BST: Group F winner v Group A/C 3rd place (Bucharest)
Tuesday 29 June, 5pm BST: England v Group F runner-up (Wembley)
Tuesday 29 June, 8pm BST: Group E winner v Group B/C/D 3rd place (Hampden Park)