England second after Slovakia stalemate – Slovakia v England EURO 2016

Group B

Slovakia 0-0 Wales

England were held to a nil all draw tonight against a defensive Slovakian side that sees the Three Lions finish second in Group B behind Wales while Slovakia finish in third place.

Coach Roy Hodgson made six changes to his starting eleven notably bringing in Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge who came off the bench to fire England to a win over Wales. Captain Wayne Rooney found himself on the bench tonight alongside Harry Kane.Ultimately the gamble didn’t pay off tonight as none of the English attacking venom could break down a staunch Slovakian defence.

Hodgson’s men were on top and after five minutes as Vardy directed a cross from the impressive Nathaniel Clyne just over using his thigh, before Sturridge was denied from close range by Peter Pekarik’s pressure. Adam Lallana then dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box as the pressure mounted, with the Liverpool attacking midfielder then sending over a deep cross that Jordan Henderson impressively controlled and hit on the turn. That was one of many shots blocked by Slovakia’s well-organised defence, which Vardy looked well-placed to breach in the 17th minute when put through on goal.While his pace was enough to leave Martin Skrtel behind his shot not good enough to beat goalkeeper Matus Kozacik.The encounter became somewhat disjointed after a break in play following a nasty blow to Pekarik, with Ryan Bertrand’s flailing arm leading the Slovakia right-back’s white shirt to be covered in blood as his nose dripped following the clash.Gary Cahill, too, received treatment during the stoppage as an existing hip injury appeared to flare up, but the stand-in captain returned and soon slid in to intercept a threatening cross.It was one of the few Slovakia voyages forward as the attention remained at the other end, with Kozacik denying a fierce Lallana snapshot.Jan Durica knew little about the block that prevented Henderson’s shot causing an issue for his goalkeeper as half-time approached, with neither manager making an alteration when the teams re-emerged.

Matúš Kozáčik stops a Vardy strike.
Matúš Kozáčik stops a Vardy strike.

There was panic in the English defence after the restart when a mix up nearly saw Slovakia take the lead. Joe Hart had some choice words for center-back Chris Smalling after the danger was cleared.Tomas Hubocan’s seemingly innocuous cross caused problems as  Smalling attempted to chest the ball back to Joe Hart. The lack of power saw Robert Mak jump in and the England’s centre-back and goalkeeper collide.Vladimir Weiss cut inside and sent a low strike that Hart saved low to his right when Slovakia next attacked, but that came after Clyne forced a fine save from Kozacik under pressure.Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli were brought on in a bid to spark England into life, which the latter almost did just moments after his introduction. The Tottenham midfielder’s burst into the box at pace and stretched to meet a Henderson cross, with his strike destined for the goal until Skrtel flicked off the line.It was one of increasingly few chances as play became congested, with Rooney seeing a shot from the edge of the box deflected over the bar as England fans made their voice heard.Eric Dier saw a long-range strike charged down and Rooney struck wide as England became desperate.The late introduction of Harry Kane saw several half-chances as England pushed for a winner that eluded them, with Alli lashing the last chance well over.

Alli's shot is cleared off the line.
Alli’s shot is cleared off the line.

This draw combined with the Welsh win sees England finish second while Slovakia sit in third with four points.

Man of the Match – Matúš Kozáčik (Slovakia)

Substitutions:

Slovakia

  • Dusan Svento replaces Ondrej Duda 57 mins
  • Norbert Gyomber replaces Viktor Pecovsky 67 mins
  • Milan Skriniar replaces Vladimir Weiss 78 mins

England

  • Wayne Rooney replaces Jack Wilshere 56 mins
  • Dele Alli replaces Adam Lallana 61 mins
  • Harry Kane replaces Daniel Sturridge 76 mins

Yellow cards:

Slovakia– Viktor Pecovsky.

England – Ryan Bertrand.

 

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