England 0 v 0 Slovakia – Euro 2016 Group B

ENG 0:0 SVK – an ultimately frustrating evening once again for England as changes in personnel didn’t make the difference this time around for a tactically inept Roy Hodgson. The Three Lions did look more dangerous going forward, an extra attacking midfielder added in place of captain Wayne Rooney. It was just a shame that man was Jack Wilshere, who basically gave the ball away for an hour. Eric Dier was one player who benefitted from Rooney’s absence, controlling the game well from midfield, consistently moving the ball forward. Dier picked out Adam Lallana down the left who crossed for Jordan Henderson, who had his shot well blocked by a resolute Slovakian defence. Moments later an incisive ball over the top from Henderson sent Jamie Vardy away, the Leicester City Football Club striker outpacing Martin Škrtel but firing his shot straight at FC Viktoria Plzeň‘s Matúš Kozáčik. Lallana brought another great stop from Kozáčik after great play from Nathaniel Clyne down the right resulted in the fullback pulling the ball back for his Liverpool FC teammate to angle a high shot that was brilliantly parried one-handed. Slovakia showed little endeavour throughout but nearly profited from a poor piece of defending from Chris Smalling to sneak a lead early in the 2nd half. England continued their domination of possession but failed to create any guilt-edge chances. Rooney, Dele Alli and Harry Kane were all thrown on to try find a winner. More good play from Henderson on the right and a teasing ball to the back post was well met by Alli who saw his angled stab cleared off the line by a lunging Škrtel. England were far too predictable, they are over-reliant on flashes of individual brilliance, and Hodgson has work to do to find a formula to take them forward in what will be a difficult first knockout game. Slovakia will be a best 3rd-place qualifier and will undoubtedly show more adventure in the knockout stages.

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