Gareth Southgate’s England stumbled to a shock 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic thanks to a late winner from substitute Zdenek Ondrasek.
A Czech Republic win was deemed to be extremely unlikely with the odds being 5/1 , but punters will be extremely satisfied by Jaroslav Šilhavý’s side today.
This is the Three Lions’ first dropped points in the European Championship qualifying stage and sit in the joint top of their group alongside the Czech Republic.
However, they do have a game in hand and will look to extend that in their next fixture against Bulgaria in four days time.
England started in strong fashion with Raheem Sterling spearheading an impressive attack.
The Manchester City forward raced through into the box and won a penalty after a great chop on to his weaker foot, which had fooled Lukas Masopust.
Harry Kane, who was 3/1 to score the first goal, dispatched the penalty with ease.
The skipper now has scored seven goals in five games for England and has become the most prolific penalty taker for England with nine scored.
However, England’s goal ignited some much-needed fire into the Czech Republic side. A penalty shout was waved away and Vladimir Coufal stung a great shot which caused keeper Jordan Pickford to be called into action.
That was a scare that England refused to acknowledge and were punished just a minute later. The Czech Republic won a corner which was flicked on into the path of Jakub Brabec.
The defender managed to bundle home past Pickford giving Jaroslav Šilhavý’s sie a shock equaliser.
England seemed to be slightly rattled and Danny Rose picked up a yellow card immediately after the goal, meaning he will be suspended for the next Euro qualifier game.
Roma striker Patrik Schick also had a great chance from a corner in the 16th minute. The 23-year-old, who was 13/8 to score anytime, headed over at the back post.
Both sides struggled to make clear cut chances following on from Schick’s header, especially England.
Gareth Southgate’s side were extremely poor in the first half with just one solitary shot on target, which was the penalty. In contrast, the Czech Republic had four on target and ten shots in total.
England could not even dominate proceedings as they only managed 51% possession despite the gulf in talent.
The Czech Republic started the second half like they played in the first and had the first chance of the half. Tomas Soucek hit high and wide with his weaker left foot in the 51st minute.
England got better as the half continued and managed to have a huge chance themselves.
Sterling was played through brilliantly by Kane and tried to go around Tomas Vaclik. However, the goalkeeper saw it coming and denied the electric forward.
Right-back Masopust had a great effort which was saved by Pickford soon after.
The defender curled a shot from his weaker left foot from outside the box but the Everton keeper tipped it over the bar.
Both teams were unable to put huge pressure on one another due to the game becoming a little bit scrappy – until the last fifteen minutes.
Alex Kral forced Pickford into a great save in the 77th minute. The Czech side put together a great move with good combination play which put Kral through who struck a solid shot at Pickford’s near post.
It became an end to end game soon after which is highlighted by England’s next guilt-edged opportunity. Kane was put through by substitute Ross Barkley who played a brilliant through ball into the striker’s feet.
However, the Spurs forward could only hit it straight at Vaclik.
In a game so tight, substitutes can prove to be the difference and that was the case today. Zdenek Ondrasek was brought on for his debut at the tender age of 30, which proved to be enough for the Czech Republic.
Masopust was released through the right-hand side and cut back the ball to the striker, who was in acres in space, and Ondrasek passed it into the bottom right corner past Pickford.
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