Czech Republic Beat Harry Kane, England 2-1 in Euro 2020 Qualifier
England lost their perfect record in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday, losing to the Czech Republic 2-1 at Sinobo Stadium despite a goal from Harry Kane.
Kane opened the scoring from the penalty spot after just five minutes, but Jakub Brabec tied things up just four minutes later. Zdenek Ondrasek found a late winner for the Czechs, who moved level with England at the top of Group A with the win. The Three Lions have a match in hand, however.
According to Rob Harris of the Associated Press, it had been over a decade since England lost a meaningful qualifier:
The Three Lions knew what was at stake on Friday:
They had a dream start, taking the lead after just five minutes. Raheem Sterling dribbled his way into the box before going down under light contact, but the official pointed to the spot and awarded a penalty. Kane calmly converted for the lead.
The advantage was short-lived, however. Just a minute after the Czechs had a penalty shot of their own turned down, poor English defending saw a corner reach Brabec, who turned the ball home.
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty noted the Three Lions have struggled to defend their goal of late:
The hosts more than held their own against the 2018 World Cup semi-finalists, powered by midfield engine Jakub Jankto. Chances were few after the quick start, with England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford denying Jan Boril and Mason Mount taking too long to fire off a shot from a promising position.
Patrik Schick aimed a header right at Pickford, and shortly before the half-time break, Jadon Sancho nearly found a way into the box.
At half-time, McNulty was not happy with the English performance:
The first chance of the second half fell to the Czechs, but Boril’s effort sailed well over Pickford’s goal. Raheem Sterling tried to round the goalkeeper after good work from Kane, but Sevilla star Tomas Vaclik made an excellent adjustment.
Pickford had to flash his talents to deny Lukas Masopust, getting across his line fast to make the save, while Kane just missed out on a deviation that would almost surely have resulted in a goal.
Substitute Ross Barkley picked out Kane with a nice cross, but a poor touch from the Spurs man meant he had to shoot from a tricky angle. Vaclik was never troubled by his effort.
While the better chances fell to England in the second half, the hosts went ahead with five minutes left to play. Masopust pulled the ball back after a great run, and Ondrasek beat Pickford with his shot. Once again, the defence looked suspect, per sports writer Karl Matchett:
The Three Lions brought on Tammy Abraham late to help find an equaliser, but the Czechs expertly played out the contest, denying England their ticket to Euro 2020 for now.
England next match
England will face Bulgaria in another qualifier on Monday. The Czechs will battle Northern Ireland in a friendly