The Three Lions of England on Friday night, tasted their first-ever defeat in any qualifying games for over a decade, after they fell 2-1 to the Czech Republic in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
The unimpressive Gareth Southgate’s side even with the defeat to Czech Republic, remain top of Group A but level on points with the Czechs, who have played one game more, with three matches remaining.
The last time the Three Lions of England tasted defeat was a qualifying game where they lost 1-0 in Ukraine ten years ago yesterday, nine of the starting XI have retired, with only Wayne Rooney and Aaron Lennon still playing, illustrating just how unexpected this was, particularly given the 5-0 win over the same opponents at Wembley in March
Shortly before kick-off, reports emerged of angry clashes between England supporters and Czech police in Prague city centre and it was to prove a troubling night on and off the pitch as England peaked in the third-minute, when Harry Kane put them in front from the penalty spot.
The Czechs hit back immediately through Jakub Brabec and veteran substitute Zdenek Ondrasek – a 30-year-old on his international debut, scored five minutes from time.
Southgate made three changes from the barmy 5-3 win over Kosovo last month, with Mason Mount making his full England debut ahead of club-mate Ross Barkley and Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose preferred to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Chilwell at full-back.
Michael Keane retained his position in the team, after his last outing against the Kosovans at St. Mary’s.
The opening three minutes here, at least, suggested another thrashing was in the offing when Kane’s gorgeous flick-around-the-corner released Sterling and the winger surged into the box before having his heels swiped by Lukas Masopust as he checked back.
Kane, who missed from the spot against Kosovo, fired the penalty straight down the middle for his 27th England goal, taking him to level with David Platt as their 12th all-time leading scorer.
Bu England’s lead lasted all of five minutes and it was a measure of their dreadful defending that Jakub Jantko and Vladimir Coufal both had openings in the seconds before Brabec bundled home a corner at the back post.
It took England until the 33rd-minute to launch another attack of note a blocked effort for Kane – as the hosts proved the equaliser was no fluke by taking command of the first half.
Using their extra man in midfield, the Czechs picked their way through England and frequently found space in the final third, where Keane continued to look out of his depth at this level.
Tammy Abraham played for just three minutes, while Tomori England start is delayed.