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England got their Euro 2020 campaign off to a good start by beating Croatia, but the Three Lions were brought down to earth at Wembley on Friday.
Gareth Southgate’s outfit stuttered for a goalless draw against Scotland and, with just one shot on target, former England winger Chris Waddle said they “ran out of ideas in the final third”.
Captain Harry Kane rightly says it’s “one step closer to qualifying,” but will it feel like a step back from their momentum this tournament?
“Maybe this is an important point”
England sit second in Group D with four points after two games and face the Czech Republic, who are the best on goal difference, in the final game on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. BST.
“We were too frantic and not patient in the right areas of the pitch,” Southgate told BBC Sport. “It’s a performance that we know has to be better. That could be an important point.
“We wanted to go there and win and qualify. That’s what we wanted to do and it’s a kick in the teeth because we haven’t done it yet.
“But we stay positive. It’s a football tournament and you can’t win everyone. There’s going to be an incident along the way and there are other better teams that have drawn. We have to. just stay positive and be ready for Tuesday. “
Kane said it was not the best performance for the Three Lions and that they “want to finish well” against the Czech Republic.
“It’s another point closer to qualifying and it’s our ultimate goal,” he added. “We just have to recover and look forward to the next game in a few days.
“It was a tough game. Scotland defended really well, made good blocks at the right time and we know no game will be easy. It’s a European Championship and Scotland are playing for their life.”
What’s wrong with Kane?
Kane is England’s captain and talisman, winning the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot, and headed to this tournament after finishing with the most goals and assists of any player. of the Premier League last season.
But his rocky start to Euro 2020 continued against Scotland as he only managed 19 touches before being substituted in the 74th minute.
“The games are intense and you have new legs to put on the line,” Southgate explained. “We have a team and have to use it. We took out Captain Harry Kane, but the types of players on the bench, we have to use them.”
England midfielder Declan Rice added: “Scotland pulled off their game plan and called off Harry Kane. He is a world class player and we have to give him the ball to score.
“With the press and social media there might be an overreaction now, but we have to stay positive.”
Former England winger Waddle has said a long domestic season appears to have taken its toll on the Tottenham striker.
“He doesn’t look fresh. It’s like hard work for him,” Waddle told BBC Radio 5 Live. “He doesn’t have a change of pace around him yet.
“He looks on his feet, he goes out, he can’t fit in the box. He looks like he’s had a long tough season.”
But former England midfielder Jack Wilshere said players shouldn’t pay too much attention to what is being said on social media after the performance.
“This is the world we live in. They will read the negative comments and it all depends on how it affects the individual,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I’m pretty sure Harry Kane won’t let this affect him and he will try to improve, but I think the team around him needs to improve as well.
“Kane is someone who feeds off other players. He’s a world class player and sometimes world class players do what the game needs. The minute he falls to pick up the ball and I think that we have to take it higher up the pitch. “
“Scotland just ruled England”
Scotland have one point in their opening two matches and will need to beat Croatia for any chance of qualifying. But they will be delighted with their provocative display at Wembley.
“The bravery out there, facing a lot of world class players, they never looked fazed,” Pat Nevin said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“England were warned enough that it was going to be a battle, it was going to be a fight. People were saying you better be 100% and if you are 100% you will probably win.
“They weren’t ready like the greatest cup final they’ve ever played. As you look at the Scottish players and they were exactly like that.”
Waddle says England placed second on the evening.
“Scotland carried a massive threat,” he added. “The problem with Scotland is scoring goals. They’ve been unlucky on several occasions.
“It was a poor performance for England and Scotland just led them.”