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England 0-0 Slovenia: Gareth Southgate’s side continue to struggle

We look at England 0-0 draw with Slovenia and how Gareth Southgate's side continue to struggle for form

England secure top spot in Group C but fail to impress, held to a goalless draw with Slovenia in Cologne; draw is enough for Slovenia to also progress to the knockout stages in third, alongside second-placed Denmark.

England stumbled to a lacklustre 0-0 draw with Slovenia in Cologne, yet still managed to win Group C at Euro 2024.

Bukayo Saka had a goal disallowed due to Phil Foden’s offside position. England’s first legitimate shot came only in the 30th minute. Harry Kane came close but failed to connect cleanly with Kieran Trippier’s cross.

Gareth Southgate made just one change from the draw against Denmark, bringing in Conor Gallagher for Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield. Gallagher failed to make an impact and was substituted for Kobbie Mainoo in the second half. Mainoo sparked an improved performance, but England’s pressure led to few chances and no goals. There was little movement and many loose touches.

Cole Palmer and Anthony Gordon got some game time, but still, no goals came. Denmark’s draw with Serbia means England top Group C, while Slovenia secure the point needed to progress as one of the best third-placed teams.

England are lucky to avoid the tougher side of the knockout draw, missing teams like Germany, Spain, Portugal, and France. But this will mean nothing if they don’t improve their form.

John Stones

“I think we all wanted to win,” John Stones told ITV. “But the objective was to top the group and we’ve done that, so I’m very pleased. It’s not always easy, especially with the target on our backs.

“Two clean sheets out of three is a big positive as we head into the next stage. I thought there was a lot of improvement from the previous two games.

“We tried to be more free-flowing, found people in the pockets, created more chances. It’s another step in the right direction.

“I understand some of the fans’ frustration with us not scoring. That’s football. We gave it all out there, and it’s never an easy game.”

Youngsters offer hope for England?

Angry England fans throw cups and boo Southgate after poor Slovenia match

England ended their final Group C game at Euro 2024 with a goalless draw against Slovenia, and fans were quick to show their frustration towards manager Gareth Southgate at full-time.

Despite the boos and plastic cups thrown at him, Southgate continued to clap for the England supporters after the disappointing draw. This was England’s second consecutive draw in the group stages. While they topped the group and qualified for the round of 16, their lacklustre performance raised many questions.

Bukayo Saka thought he had scored midway through the first half, but his goal was ruled offside. Even though England had nearly 75% possession and 12 shots on goal compared to Slovenia’s four, they couldn’t break down their opponent’s defence.

Slovenia, managed by Matjaž Kek, were unbeaten in their previous eight matches and had only lost once in 13 games before facing England. This record did little to ease the frustration of England fans, who booed loudly at the final whistle in Cologne’s Rheinenergiestadion.

Southgate approached the fans at the end, but they greeted him with more boos and plastic cups. The 53-year-old coach clapped for the supporters despite their clear discontent. Speaking to ITV, he said, “I understand the reactions, it’s a tough environment. We tried to win the game by the changes we made, putting attacking players on.”

Southgate also addressed the atmosphere, calling it “very, very unusual.” He urged fans to support the team, especially since the players felt the negativity. He stressed the importance of fan support, saying it boosts the team’s morale.

In an attempt to improve the performance, Southgate brought on Kobbie Mainoo for Conor Gallagher at half-time. Cole Palmer and Anthony Gordon made their first appearances in the tournament, with Palmer getting 20 minutes and Gordon just four. Trent Alexander-Arnold returned to his usual right-back position, but the substitutions couldn’t change the result.

Southgate’s tactics have come under fire throughout the tournament, with critics accusing him of stifling the team’s creativity. Gary Neville commented at half-time that the team looked “basic” and expressed his sadness given the squad’s talent.

Before the tournament, Southgate acknowledged that his future depended on success. Having led England to the Euro 2020 final, where they lost to Italy in a penalty shoot-out, he admitted to German outlet Bild that failing to win may cost him his job.

With the group stage over, England will play the third-placed team from groups D, E, or F on Sunday at 5pm, likely facing the Netherlands after their 3-2 loss to Austria.

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