England top group at Euro 2024 and Slovenia also advances after 0-0 draw

AP , Wednesday 26 Jun 2024

England advanced to the knockout stage of Euro 2024 as group winner after a 0-0 draw against Slovenia on Tuesday.

England s midfielder #04 Declan Rice fights for the ball with Slovenia s midfielder #26 Josip Ilicic
England s midfielder #04 Declan Rice fights for the ball with Slovenia s midfielder #26 Josip Ilicic during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C football match between England and Slovenia at the Cologne Stadium in Cologne on June 25, 2024. AFP

 

The result at Cologne Stadium also saw Slovenia reach the round of 16 for the first time and Croatia was eliminated.

England had already been assured of advancing but doing so as Group C winner means it will play one of the qualifying third-placed teams in the round of 16 and is on the opposite side of the draw to Spain, France, Germany and Portugal.

“That was the aim before the start of the tournament. Come top of the group and control our destiny," England captain Harry Kane said. “I thought we played a lot better than the other two games. We just couldn’t find that final finish. We look forward to the next one.”

In a game of few chances, England substitute Cole Palmer could have sealed the win in stoppage time, but his shot was saved by Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

It was another unconvincing performance from a team that went into the tournament as one of the favorites to be crowned European champion.

Gareth Southgate and his players have faced heavy criticism despite having already advanced before the final group game.

Its performance against Denmark was so uninspired that former captain and now BBC presenter Gary Lineker used an expletive to describe it in a brutal assessment.

Again England looked short of ideas and could have gone behind early on when Benjamin Sesko had a free header from inside the box. His effort lacked power and direction and was easily collected by keeper Jordan Pickford.

Bukayo Saka had a first-half goal ruled out for offside and Palmer came close late on, but England rarely looked like finding a winner.

England was a beaten finalist at the last Euros when it lost a penalty shootout to Italy and has not won a major tournament since its only triumph — the World Cup in 1966.

This was Slovenia’s first appearance at a Euros for 24 years and only the second time it had qualified for the tournament.

A masked Kylian Mbappé scored his first goal of the Euros, but France drew 1-1 with Poland to finish runner-up in Group D behind Austria, which beat the Netherlands 3-2.

Mbappé wore a protective mask after breaking his nose in France’s opening game against Austria and scored from the penalty spot. But Robert Lewandowski’s twice-taken spot kick gave already eliminated Poland its first point of the tournament.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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