A much-improved, much better-balanced England sealed top spot in Group D in with a solid performance against the Czech Republic, who drop down to third following Croatia's win over Scotland.
England now remain at Wembley and will play the runner-up in Group F, which could be any of Portugal, France, Germany or Hungary.
England began at a decent tempo and ought to have taken the lead on two minutes when Raheem Sterling lifted Luke Shaw’s fine pass over Tomas Vaclik only to see the ball come back off the post. But he made no mistake on 12 minutes, heading home at the back post after good work from Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka.
UEFA Nations League
Switzerland retain spot in Nations League elite with narrow win over Czech Republic
27/09/2022 AT 17:56
The less said about the second half the better, both sides slowing down and relatively happy with their lots. Though they were dour tonight, the Czech Republic have a chance against whoever they may meet next, and England have the ability to beat any team on a good day. And they're going to need one - the likelihood is that they meet Germany, Portugal or France next.

Reaction from England fans as Southgate's side beat Czech Republic


Before England met Croatia, Gareth Southgate was asked about the XI he’d picked – one without many surprises but which no one predicted. Sagely, he noted that if you win, people say you picked the right team, and if you lose people say you picked the wrong team - when the reality is significantly more nuanced.

After his team’s performance tonight, he has some questions to ask of himself. Mason Mount - if available for the last-16 tie - is proven at the highest level, but might Jack Grealish be a better fit for this team? Similarly, might Bukayo Saka – a brilliant player, but not as brilliant a player as Phil Foden – still be a better right-wing option? But then might you play Foden in midfield?

Clearly, Southgate is wedded to playing two holding midfielders, so debating which of them might drop out for a knockout tie, after both started in a match England could afford to lose, is a waste of time. Likewise, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling aren’t getting left out now, so Southgate must answer to further questions: should he tailor his team to the particular opponent? And was the key aspect of tonight’s performance the blend he picked, or the particular circumstances of the game?

Sterling headed England in front early on

Image credit: Getty Images


Harry Maguire (England) Solid in defence, and his ability with the ball gave his team better tempo.


Czech Republic: Vaclik 6, Coufal 6, Celustka 6, Kalas 5, Boril 5, Soucek 5, Holes 6, Masopust 5, Darida 5, Jankto 5, Shick 5. Subs: Sevcik 6, Hlozek 6, Kral 6, Pekhart 6, Vydra 6.
England: Pixckford 6, Walker 7, Maguire 7, Stones 6, Shaw 7, Rice 6, Phillips 6, Saka 7, Grealish 7, Sterling 7. Subs: Henderson, Rashford, Bellingham, Mings, Sancho.


Tomas Pekhart's 83rd-minute shot was the first attempt at goal in the second half - the latest one has come in any Euros match since 1980.


2’ - Shaw collects the ball on halfway line and in space, clipping a tremendous channel pass over the top for Sterling ... AND HE'S IN! Vaclik's already dashed out to meet him, making Sterling's mind up for him - he chips, and it's going in, it's going in ... IT'S HIT THE POST!

12’ - GOAL! Czech Republic 0-1 England (Sterling) Saka breaks in midfield and the ball makes its way over to the other side when Kane knocks off to Grealish. He duly attacks the nearest defender as is his wont, leaves them because he did so quickly, and dinks a cross to the back post, over the head of Saka but right where Big Raheem Sterling is unmarked to head home!

26’ - Maguire brings the ball out of defence and drills a tremendous daisy-cutter that sticks Kane in! He does really well to turn inside Kalas and there's a gap at the far post for the Thierry Henry; there's also Sterling screaming for a pass. Which do you think he picks? Indeed. He opens his body but as he shoots his standing foot slips a little and he punches a finish too close to Vaclik, who prangs away.

35’ - Darida goes down the left and crosses well ... Jankto is there too, and flings himself at a volley right as Shaw flings his head at it. That's a brilliant, potentially goal-saving challenge, but the ball drops to Soucek, and he flashes a drive only just wide. That was a very, very good chance.

86’ - GOAL! Czech Republic 0-2 England (Henderson) Bellingham competes for a ball in the box with Sevcic and it shoots through to Henderson! He smashes home!

87’ - GOAL DISALLOWED! Czech Republic 0-1 England Henderson was offside. Bellingham got to the ball just before Sevcik.

UEFA Nations League
Well at least England fans agree on Bellingham – The Warm-Up
27/09/2022 AT 07:16
UEFA Nations League
England roar back in six-goal thriller but Germany snatch late draw
26/09/2022 AT 17:56