England’s road to the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2020 may have received its fair share of criticism due to their lack of goals, but one glance at their qualifying campaign for the European Championship tells an entirely different story.
Gareth Southgate’s side was one of the best teams in the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, finishing at the top of Group A by winning seven of the eight matches. During the course, they scored the joint second-most goals (37) while conceding a mere six times.
Who was the only team to beat England during the Euro 2020 qualifiers?
On October 11, 2019, England had a chance to secure a place in the Euro 2020 finals when they squared off against Czech Republic at the Eden Arena. The two teams had already met once in the qualifiers and England had comfortably beaten them 5-0, with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick.
The night at Eden Arena, however, saw England slump to a 1-2 loss and that defeat was their first qualifying defeat in 44 games since their 1-0 loss to Ukraine in 2009. The defeat meant that England also failed to register a first win in Prague since 1908.
Harry Kane had given England a fifth-minute lead through a spot-kick, but the Czechs responded a mere four minutes later. Substitute Zdenek Ondrasek eventually scored a late winner as England could do nothing.
"Clearly that's a night we did not want to be a part of. We didn't play well enough, it's as simple as that," England coach Gareth Southgate said after the match.
"We've always maintained there is a lot of work to be done to be a really top team. Tonight was clear evidence of that."
This game was the only setback for England in their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. They went on to beat Bulgaria 6-0, Montenegro 7-0 and Kosovo 4-0 in their remaining games to book a place in the finals.
Featured photo: AFP / Joe Klamar