England out play Czech Republic
Written By: Robert Halter
In a European qualifier for UEFA Euro 2020, England began their campaign against the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium on a Friday night to start Group A during late March. On six minutes, Jadon Sancho found Jordan Henderson, whose delivery on the right was pushed out by Jiri Pavlenka. Soon Eric Dier was left worse for wear from a two footed challenge by Tomas Soucek, and Dier had to be replaced with Ross Barkley. Midway through the first half, Pavel Kaderabek teed up Czech Republic captain, Vladimir Darida, who bent his strike out of play to the left. But it was the Three Lions that forged ahead in the twenty fourth minute, as Harry Kane put the ball through to Sancho on the right, whose cross was rolled in by the outstretched left boot of Raheem Sterling, into the bottom left corner. In the thirty ninth minute, Sancho set up Harry Maguire, who miscued his strike from the left side of the six yard box out to the right. On the stroke of half time, Sterling was pushed over in the area by Kaderabek while sandwiched with Tomas Kalas, and referee Artur Dias of Portugal, awarded England a penalty while also booking Kaderabek. Up stepped Kane to take the spot kick which he struck into the left side of the goal off the hand of Pavlenka to give the Three Lions a two nil half time lead. Before the re-start, the Czech Republic replaced Jakub Jankto with Matej Vydra. After a foul by Jordan Henderson on Soucek, from Darida’s free kick, a soaring low header by Soucek, went fractions past the left post, in the fifty first minute. A minute later from Darida’s corner, and a touch on by Kalas, the ball was struck straight into Jordan Pickford from David Pavelka. On fifty four minutes, from Barkley’s cross, Kalas hit the ball against the hand of Filip Novak, before Pavlenka in goal rectified the situation. In the fifty ninth minute, Sterling combined with Kane, whose delivery was struck by Sancho against Novak, before the ball was cleared off the line by Kalas, before bobbling off Dele Alli, and over the crossbar. But England went into the ascendancy again on sixty two minutes, when Kyle Walker’s ball through rebounded off Kalas onto Novak, and a curling strike by Sterling rose into the left corner of the net. Dele Alli was then substituted for Declan Rice, before the Czech Republic took off Darida for Lukas Masopust. In the sixty eighth minute, after a run through by Barkley, a hat trick was claimed by Sterling, as his strike curled in off Ondrej Celustka, from outside the box to the middle of the goal. Sterling then made way for Callum Hudson-Odoi, for his international debut. On seventy three minutes Soucek dispossessed Walker, and a fierce bending strike from Patrik Schick, went narrowly over the top of the left post. The Three Lions pressed again in the seventy fifth minute, when from an assist by Barkley, a right footed strike by Hudson-Odoi was parried away from Pavlenka. Then Hudson-Odoi turned provider to Kane, whose low strike was kept out by Pavlenka at full stretch towards the bottom right corner. In a three way move Masopust and Soucek found Vydra, who drilled the ball narrowly behind the right area of the goal, in the eighty first minute. Schick was then taken off for Milan Skoda. But the Three Lions made it five, as Sancho assisted Hudson-Odoi, whose shot was pushed out by Pavlenka, and Kalas turned the rebound into his own net, in the eighty fourth minute. Hat trick hero Sterling was voted man of the match, as England rounded off a five nil demolition of Czech Republic, to lay down a marker on the opening night of their European qualifier.