Sterling header enough for England win, Croatia get a dominating victory over Scotland

Courtesy: ESPN


Raheem Sterling's early header proved enough to earn England a victory against the Czech Republic at Wembley that took Gareth Southgate's side into the round of 16 as Group D winners. England and Czech Republic were locked on four points heading into the final game. A draw would have seen both teams go through, with Czech Republic securing first and England settling for second place.

Needing to win to overtake the Czechs and claim first place in Group D, England began positively with Sterling lobbing against the post as early as the second minute. Ten minutes later he did have his goal, Jack Grealish twisting and turning down the left before lifting the ball to the far post where Sterling nodded in.

Harry Kane was then denied by Tomáš Vaclík as England continued to press, but it was by no means one-way traffic. Jordan Pickford's flying stop denied Tomáš Holeš before Tomáš Souček whipped a shot centimetres wide of the target.

With both teams already through to the round of 16 ahead of kick-off, the tempo dropped in the second half as the two coaches made changes. As news filtered through of Croatia going two goals clear of Scotland, pushing the Czechs down into third place, substitute Tomáš Pekhart flashed a shot just past the post but that was as close as they came to an equaliser.

The next fixtures for both the team(s) are as follows-

Czech Republic – through as one of the best third-placed teams

England – vs Group F runners-up in London on 29 June


Goals by Nikola Vlašić, Luka Modrić and Ivan Perišić earned Croatia a victory in Glasgow that clinched the runners-up berth in Group D and a place in the last 16, as co-hosts Scotland bowed out of the tournament. Croatia battled back to secure a point in their meeting with the Czech Republic on Friday evening and will look to see out their Group D campaign with a win over Scotland. The Tartan Army, like Croatia, followed up their opening group loss with a draw, holding England 0-0 at Wembley.

Both sides needed a win to take them through to the knockout phase and when, minutes in, John McGinn’s searching cross dropped just out of Ché Adams' reach, it heralded a captivating do-or-die contest. Croatia were first to strike in the 17th minute. Bruno Petković cushioned down Josip Juranović's floated cross for Vlašić to squeeze a shot inside David Marshall's bottom corner.

Modrić looked to control and consolidate as Croatia found their rhythm, but Scotland's high pressing paid off close to half-time when a scuffed Croatian clearance reached Callum McGregor, who drilled home to restore parity.

Knowing a draw would send both teams home, there was no let-up in a tireless second half. On 62 minutes, Croatia regained the lead: this time Modrić's stunning outside-of-the-boot curler beat Marshall. Late on, the Vatreni added sheen to the scoreline as Perišić glanced home from a corner to complete the triumph and rubber-stamp their knockout ticket.

The next fixtures for both the team(s) are as follows-

Croatia face the Group E runners-up in Copenhagen on 28 June

Sandipan Roy

Sandipan Roy

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