England 5-0 Czech Republic: 5 Talking Points & Tactical Analysis
England made a flying start to their Euro 2020 Qualifying campaign as a rampant attacking display saw them register a dominant 5-0 win over the Czech Republic.
Raheem Sterling was the star of the show as he netted his first England hat-trick and won a penalty, which was converted by the ever-dependable Harry Kane. A late own goal by Tomas Kalas capped off a torrid night for the Czech Republic while it added a gloss to the scoreline for England.
Now let us discuss 5 talking points from the match:
#1 Early possession pays off
As expected, the early stages of the game saw England dominate possession as they tried to open up a stern looking Czech Republic team. The Czech Republic played a low block, remaining compact and didn’t give the home team much space as well as time to operate near their box.
Thus, the centre backs, as well as the deep-lying midfielders, saw more of the ball in the early exchanges as they patiently waited to carve up the opposition.
Southgate started with a midfield trident of Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier and Dele Alli. Dier is a robust midfielder, tenacious in midfield but for all his other qualities he does not offer a lot of creativity from midfield, something that is required when playing against teams that sit deep. His injury courtesy of a poor challenge by Soucek saw him replaced by an attacking alternative in Barkley.
This was a positive change which gave England added attacking impetus and more fluidity as well as balance in attack. All the possession came to fruition in the 24th minute when Harry Kane dropped deep to play a perfectly weighted pass to Jadon Sancho inside the right-hand channel who rolled in a simple ball that was met by the outstretched boot of Raheem Sterling.
This goal was the culmination of a 25-pass move and indicates to England’s newfound possession-based philosophy.