Gareth Southgate admitted England’s defeat against Czech Republic is a reality check for the nation in terms of their Euro 2020 credentials.
A win would have sent England to Euro 2020, but defeat means Southgate’s men and Czech Republic are level on points at the top of Group A, with Kosovo four points behind.
Anticipation is high regarding England’s chances of success at the tournament as the semi-finals and final are due to be played at Wembley. According to Sky Bet, England are second-favourites to win the competition but Southgate has played down his team’s chances of ending over 50 years without a major tournament success.
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When asked if this result was a reality check, Southgate said: “Yes I think so.
“We are always very realistic about where we sit. We have an exciting team that usually look like scoring goals. We know there is a long way for us to go to become one of the top teams in Europe. We’ve got to respond to that performance on Monday and accept any criticism that comes our way.”
“Tonight we didn’t do enough to win the game,” Southgate added.
“Our performance wasn’t good enough, simple as that. We probably should have got a draw out of it, but in the end the goal we conceded was typical of the chances we gave away throughout the night.
“There are things we can look back on, but collectively we have to accept that there weren’t enough good performances.
“I thought we started the second half a lot better, [we were] a lot more of a threat. We had chances, good chances to win the game. But we conceded too many poor chances and we gave the ball away too many times.”
Trippier: We gave them too many chances
England now head to Bulgaria on Monday following this reality check, but the result in Prague certainly offers cause for concern.
The Czech Republic had 17 shots in this match, the most England have faced in a qualifying match since March 2013, when Montenegro had 19 in a World Cup qualifier.
“We went 1-0 up through a penalty and then just gave them too many chances,” Kieran Trippier told Sky Sports.
“They won a lot of second balls and had a lot of possession. We all know that we can play so much better. We didn’t pass it well and didn’t keep the ball.
“It’s good that there’s a game coming up on Monday as it gives us a chance to put things right.”
Kane: A wake-up call
England had taken an early lead through Harry Kane’s penalty after Raheem Sterling was tripped inside five minutes. However, Southgate’s side failed to take advantage of their perfect start, failing to find any rhythm in their play.
Kane was England’s only real bright spot, creating many of England’s best chances when dropping into the No 10 position. The skipper conceded the result was a wake-up call for all concerned.
“I think it was down to us,” he told ITV.
“It was a perfect start to an away game. We were sloppy with the ball, we didn’t move it as quickly as we normally do. The second half was better, we had a couple of chances to put the game to bed and we didn’t and unfortunately we gave one away at the end.
“Every away game in Europe is difficult. They had the crowd behind them, sometimes the pitch is not as easy to play, but that’s no excuse. It’s a bit of a wake-up call but we’re in a good position.
“There’s still stuff to work on for sure. We gave the ball away too cheaply and we’ll have to go away and look at it. There’s no need to panic and we’ll go again on Monday.”
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