England were far from their best on Monday, but the Three Lions’ place in the knockout rounds of Euro 2016 was solidified with a scoreless draw.
Facing off with Slovakia, England settled for a 0-0 draw on Monday in Saint-Étienne. The draw gives England the team’s fifth point of the group stage, leaving them one behind Wales as Group B play concludes. Slovakia, meanwhile, sits third and will await the conclusion while remaining hopeful of advancing as one of four third-place sides.
The game’s best chance came in the 63rd minute, as Slovakia centerback Martin Skrtel saved his team from what would have been the decisive goal. With the ball looping in on the left side of goal, substitute Dele Alli tapped a shot towards net that was destined to slide in the near post. A quick reaction flail from Skrtel saw the defender get a foot to the ball, sending Alli’s shot away from goal while protecting the shutout.
Both sides created chances throughout, although it was England that proved the more aggressive of the two sides. Jamie Vardy proved active early on, while Adam Lallana’s first time shot in the 33rd minute was parried away by goalkeeper Matus Kozacik.
Vladimir Weiss tested Joe Hart with a low driven effort in the 55th minute to headline Slovakia’s chances, while Robert Mak nearly scored the opener for the Slovaks just moments before Alli’s chance due to a Chris Smalling giveaway.
However, it was not to be for either side, as England advance to the knockout stages while Slovakia awaits their fate due to a third-place finish.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Nathaniel Clyne proved a weapon down the right hand side, giving England the team’s second straight Man of the Match from the right back position following Kyle Walker’s efforts against Wales.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Martin Skrtel’s clearance off the line proved vital, helping maintain a clean sheet while keeping his side’s hopes alive with a tie. Now with four points to their credit, Slovakia remains a strong option for a berth in the knockout rounds.
MATCH TO FORGET
Jack Wilshere generally saves his best performances for the national team, but the midfielder was largely ineffective on Monday. Repeated giveaways harmed England’s chances, and Wilshere will need to be much, much better if he is to find the field again.