reading time: 5 min.

England stays top of Group C despite 1-1 draw against Denmark

England stays top of Group C despite 1-1 draw against Denmark

England wasted the chance to secure their place in the Euro 2024 knockout stages as Group C winners as they were fortunate to take a draw from a dismal display against Denmark in Frankfurt.

Publish Date: 21/06/24 14:02
reading time: 5 min.
England stays top of Group C despite 1-1 draw against Denmark
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Gareth Southgate’s side would have topped Group C with a win after the earlier draw between Slovenia and Serbia - but were ultimately grateful for a point from a disorganised, shambolic mess of performance.

Harry Kane scored in his fourth successive major tournament to give England an 18th-minute lead but, as so often under manager Southgate, this was the signal for them to shrink into their shell to allow Danish domination.

Denmark got the equaliser they deserved when Morten Hjulmand struck a thunderous 25-yard equaliser after 34 minutes.

Phil Foden struck the post after the break and, while England are still at the head of their group, they must deliver vast improvements against Slovenia.

As an audition for potential favourites to win Euro 2024, this was a disappointing failure.

Southgate changes expose England mess

England’s dreadful display was placed firmly in context by the fact manager Southgate, hardly known for hasty or rash changes, made four substitutions with more than 20 minutes left.

The England fans inside Frankfurt Arena also made their displeasure known, with several bursts of loud jeering well before the final whistle and a hostile send off at the end.

It is a long time since England looked as disorganised as they did here, especially in midfield where they were outpassed for long periods by Denmark, with veteran Christian Eriksen pulling the strings.

The central partnership of Declan Rice and Trent Alexander-Arnold looked horribly ill-at-ease and outmanoeuvred. This, presumably, will be the last time it is used.

Jude Bellingham, England’s great talisman and match-winner against Serbia, could not rescue them this time as even he looked jaded and unable to exert any influence as they struggled desperately.

England’s players were often seen complaining about the state of the playing surface, which did cut up early on, but there can be no cheap excuses when they perform as badly as this.

Once again, a goal subdued England rather than inspired them as they found themselves overrun and prone to far too many errors all over the pitch.

The old, nagging habit of going into retreat after going ahead returned. Serbia were not good enough to take advantage in England's first game but Denmark were not passing up the invitation.

It was a surprise to see Kane substituted after 69 minutes with England seeking a winner while Foden, who was also replaced, had actually been the most threatening player on Southgate’s side.

England’s efforts were summed up by the extent of Southgate’s reshuffle. They are still up and running in Euro 2024 but even the most optimistic fan inside the Frankfurt Arena would accept this was nowhere near the standard required to make a serious impact here in Germany.

Alexander-Arnold experiment surely over

When Alexander-Arnold trooped away to a consoling pat from Gareth Southgate after only 53 minutes, it surely signalled the end of the experiment of England using Liverpool’s right-back in midfield.

It was a move designed with positive intentions but the grim evidence on show in Frankfurt provided 'Exhibit A' that, for all his natural attacking gifts, Alexander-Arnold is nowhere near a natural fit for the role of an international midfield player.

He was unusually careless in possession, vulnerable in defensive positions and simply looked like a square peg in a round hole - something Southgate himself appeared to accept by making the substitution at such an uncharacteristically early stage.

It will be a bitter disappointment to both player and manager but if England’s midfield is made to look so poor and lacking in structure by Denmark, good side though they are, then it does not bode well should they travel deeper into Euro 2024.

Conor Gallagher has emerged as the most likely replacement for Alexander-Arnold but both Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo and another talented youngster in Adam Wharton from Crystal Palace have claims of their own.


Source: BBC Sports 

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