Czech Republic 2-1 England: Gareth Southgate's side blow chance to seal Euro 2020 qualification


England spurned the chance to qualify for Euro 2020 on Friday night after suffering a surprise 2-1 defeat against the Czech Republic in Prague.

A win would have sealed the Three Lions’ spot at next summer’s international tournament, but they suffered their first defeat in a qualifier since losing to Ukraine in 2009.

Gareth Southgate’s side took the lead against the Czech Republic in the fifth minute when Harry Kane converted from the penalty spot after Raheem Sterling had been brought down inside the box.

However, the hosts were back on level terms just four minutes later when Jakub Brabec scored from close range.

Zdenek Ondrasek, a 30-year-old debutant, then won it for the Czech Republic with a close range finish in the closing stages.

This was a disappointing first-half performance from England, who were poor in possession and made it far too easy for their opponents to find space in possession.

The second half wasn't much of an improvement from the 2018 semi-finalists, who struggled to create clear-cut opportunities in the Czech capital.

The result means the Czech Republic now join England level on 12 points at the top of Group A.

England got off to the perfect start at Prague's Sinobo Stadium, with referee Damir Skomina pointing to the spot after Sterling was fouled.

Kane stepped up and netted his seventh goal of the qualification campaign with a typically cool spot-kick.

But the Czech Republic hit back immediately with Vladimir Coufal forcing Jordan Pickford into a save before Jakub Brabec scored from close range from the resulting corner.

England were distinctly second best for the remainder of the first half and almost found themselves 2-1 down when Patrik Schick was presented with a chance at the back post.

The two sides went into the half-time break all square, but Roy Keane was scathing about England’s first-half performance inside the ITV studio.

“They haven’t got going at all,” the former Manchester United and Ireland captain said. “They’ve been really sloppy. Gareth needs to give them a bit of a rollocking.”

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Whether or not that happened is unclear but England’s performances levels hardly improved after after the break.

Luka Masopust forced Pickford into a save on the hour-mark, while Kane will feel he should have done better minutes later after being picked out by an inch-perfect pass from Sterling minutes later.

The Tottenham striker had another chance in the final 10 minutes but again failed to find a way past Tomas Vaclik.

And England were punished for their profligacy when Ondrasek popped up with the winning goal in the 85th minute.

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