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England struggled in a 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday, but it likely secured a spot in the round of 16 at the European Championship.

Harry Kane gave England a quick start at Euro 2024, scoring in the 18th minute. However, the captain was subbed off in the second half as the team lost momentum. Coach Gareth Southgate swapped out the entire forward line with 25 minutes left.

Denmark equalised in the 34th minute when Morten Hjulmand smashed in a low shot from distance after Kane lost the ball in defence. In the second half, Denmark dominated, making England look disorganised. Anxiety among the English fans grew, and they jeered late in the game. England now has four points from two games, having narrowly beaten Serbia 1-0 in the first match.

This points tally is usually enough to advance in the 24-team Euros format. Nonetheless, England could still finish anywhere from first to third in Group C, depending on their match against unbeaten Slovenia next Tuesday.

Slovenia drew 1-1 with Serbia earlier on Thursday, and also had the same result against Denmark four days before. Serbia and Denmark will also face off on Tuesday evening.

Managerial Insights

The managers, Gareth Southgate and Kasper Hjulmand, offered their take on the match’s outcome and their teams’ performances:

  • Gareth Southgate (England):

    • “We are obviously disappointed not to hold onto our lead. Substituting Harry was a tactical decision based on the flow of the game. It didn’t work out this time.”
    • “We need to stay focused and learn from our mistakes. The tournament isn’t over, and we have to be better in our next matches.”
  • Kasper Hjulmand (Denmark):

    • “I’m very pleased with our performance. The lads showed great character and resilience.”
    • “Eriksen and Hjulmand were outstanding. We prepared well for this game and executed our plan effectively. This point could be crucial for us.”

Pundit Opinions

Football pundits and experts gave their analysis on the match. Here’s a summary of their views:

  • Gary Lineker (BBC Sport): “England started strong but seemed to lack the killer instinct as the game went on. The decision to take off Kane is one that will be debated for a long time.”

  • Roy Keane (Sky Sports): “England need to be more ruthless. You can’t let teams like Denmark back into the match. They need to close out games.”

  • Ian Wright (ITV Football): “Denmark showed why they’re a tough team to beat. Eriksen was pulling the strings, and their goal was well deserved. England missed their chance to put the game to bed.”

  • Ally McCoist (talkSPORT): “It was a pulsating game. Both teams had their moments. England seemed to lose their way in the second half, while Denmark grew in confidence. A fair result, in my opinion.”

The reactions highlight the disappointment on the English side and the pride in the Danish camp. Both teams will be looking to build on this result as they continue their Euro 2024 campaigns.

Analysing England’s Struggles at Euro 2024: Tactical Issues Uncovered

England’s performance at Euro 2024 has been a mixed bag, leaving fans and pundits scratching their heads. Despite a promising start and undeniable talent, Gareth Southgate’s squad has faced recurring issues, particularly their alarming tendency to drop deep and invite pressure. This tactic, baffling considering the player’s skills, has resulted in frustrating draws against teams like Denmark and Serbia, raising questions about Southgate’s strategy.

Harry Kane, although scoring, has often looked isolated and out of sync, while Jude Bellingham shows signs of exhaustion. The experiment of playing Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield has not paid off, adding to England’s midfield woes. These persistent problems need addressing if England is to live up to their potential and avoid further disappointment in the tournament. 

England’s Tactical Approach

England’s tactical setup under Gareth Southgate has been under the microscope throughout Euro 2024. Despite boasting a squad brimming with talent, England’s strategies have caused concerns. Let’s break down the key tactical issues.

Defensive Deep Line

One of the most puzzling aspects of England’s play is their tendency to drop deep after taking the lead. This was glaringly evident in matches against Denmark and Serbia.

  • Denmark Game: After an early goal, England ceded control and retreated into their own half. This invited significant pressure, leading to Denmark’s equaliser.
  • Serbia Match: A similar story unfolded. England took the lead early but then fell back, allowing Serbia to dominate possession and create numerous opportunities.

Such a strategy is baffling given England’s strong defensive personnel like Kyle Walker and Marc Guehi, who have the pace to handle a high line. So why drop deep? It’s a question fans keep asking. This cautious approach might be due to tournament pressures, but it often results in relinquishing control of the game.


The midfield has also been a point of contention. Gareth Southgate’s experiment with Trent Alexander-Arnold in a central role has not yielded the desired results.

  • Experiment Gone Wrong: The attempt to integrate Alexander-Arnold alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham has led to a disjointed midfield. The trio has played together only a few times, and it shows.
  • Impact on the Game: Rice has been overworked, and Alexander-Arnold, despite his talent, has not adapted well to the midfield role. In the Denmark game, he was substituted early in the second half for Conor Gallagher, who brought more stability but lacks the same creative spark.

This disjointed midfield means that England struggles to maintain fluid play and control the tempo of the game, often leaving gaps that opponents exploit.

Forward Isolation

Harry Kane’s situation upfront is another critical issue. Despite his goal-scoring record, he often finds himself isolated.

  • Kane’s Isolation: Kane frequently drops deep to get involved in play, but this leaves him out of position. His misplaced pass against Denmark, which led to a goal, is a prime example of this issue.
  • Comparison with Watkins: Ollie Watkins, who replaced Kane in the later stages, provided more pressing and mobility. Kane’s lack of support and his tendency to drop deep hinder his effectiveness and leave England without a focal point in attack.

Kane’s isolation and the lack of coherent support from the midfield forces him to operate in areas where he is less effective, reducing England’s attacking threat.

In summary, England’s tactical approach under Southgate, characterised by a deep defensive line, a disjointed midfield, and an isolated striker, has raised several questions. The team’s potential remains high, but these tactical issues must be addressed to turn promise into performance.

Possession and Passing Statistics

Understanding possession and passing statistics helps us see how England’s gameplay compares to their opponents. In the matches against Denmark and Serbia, there were some telling numbers.

  • Possession Stats: In the Denmark match, England had a slightly lower possession percentage, hovering around 49% compared to Denmark’s 51%. Similarly, against Serbia, England started strong but ceded possession, ending with 47%.
  • Final Third Passes: The disparity is stark when looking at final-third passes. Denmark completed 142 final-third passes versus England’s 97. In the Serbia game, a similar pattern emerged with Serbia edging out England in this area.
  • Touches in Opposition Box: Denmark also had double the number of touches in England’s box, 22 compared to England’s 11. Against Serbia, the numbers were also lopsided in favour of the opposition.

These stats highlight a worrying trend: England often struggle to maintain control and pressure in the attacking half, allowing their opponents more freedom and efficacy going forward.

Defensive Metrics

Examining defensive statistics provides insights into how England’s deep defensive line influences matches and the number of passes allowed.

  • Passes Allowed in Defensive Third: England allowed Denmark to make numerous passes in their defensive third, indicating pressure. Denmark made 182 passes in England’s defensive third, while Serbia managed 168. This is alarmingly high and shows England’s habit of sitting back.
  • Impact of England’s Deep Line: The deep defensive line meant players like Kyle Walker and Marc Guehi were often on the back foot, dealing with continuous pressure. Data showed that England had, on average, six outfield players in their own half during key moments of the games, up from four in previous tournaments. This makes it difficult to spring quick counter-attacks or sustain pressure.

In conclusion, the possession, passing, and defensive metrics paint a picture of a team that starts strong but gradually retreats, allowing opponents to take control. This strategy, while perhaps intended to secure leads, often backfires, leading to more defensive work and fewer attacking opportunities for England. These patterns need addressing to improve performance in upcoming matches.


England’s run in Euro 2024 has spotlighted several glaring issues needing urgent attention. The tendency to drop deep and invite pressure, the disjointed midfield experiments, and Harry Kane’s isolation are clear tactical flaws. Each issue chips away at the team’s effectiveness, despite the talent on the pitch.

Gareth Southgate’s managerial decisions have come under the spotlight during Euro 2024. Fans and critics alike are analysing every move, from substitution patterns to strategic adjustments.

Resolving these problems isn’t just about tweaking strategies; it’s about leveraging the strengths of the squad in a way that maximises their potential. A more dynamic approach, better player support, and utilising appropriate formations could see a turnaround. Addressing these areas strategically will be crucial for England’s success moving forward in Euro 2024. The team has the capability; now it’s time for the right execution.

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