Lacklustre England draw again; Austria top Netherlands and France

Lacklustre England draw again; Austria top Netherlands and France

Two more EURO 2024 groups reached their conclusion on Tuesday with several big hitters in action.

This is what went down.

England top group but fail to impress

Despite another disappointing display, England advanced as Group C winners following a dull 0-0 draw against Slovenia in Cologne.

England made just one change to their opening two games, with Conor Gallagher replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield and sitting ahead of Declan Rice in a 4-1-4-1 system.

However, the same ponderous problems plagued England in the early going despite Bukayo Saka finding the net and had his effort ruled out for offside.

That was as close as they came to the opener and there were some scattered boos from a section of fans as they made their way off at half-time with the scores level as Kobbie Mainoo was brought in for Gallagher to shake things up for the second half.

That helped bring a little more urgency to the England performance and they came close when Manchester City team-mates Phil Foden and John Stones combined to see the defender’s effort scrambled to safety which was as close as either side came to a winner.

Gareth Southgate’s side’s opponents in the next round are, as yet, undetermined, while Slovenia join them in advancing as one of the best third-place finishers after an unbeaten group stage.

Denmark edge Slovenia to second in strange fashion

In the second scoreless stalemate of the night from Group C, Denmark booked their place in the next round after narrowly edging out Serbia.

Serbia’s Predrag Rajković was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half and was on hand on several occasions to keep Denmark at bay.

When he was beaten, it was only due to a foul on him prior to the ball hitting the back of the net to keep things level at the break.

After the interval, it was Serbia’s turn to have the ball in the net, only for the finish from Luka Jović to be ruled out for a clear offside.

In the final 10 minutes, Aleksandar Mitrović came agonisingly close to a winner that would have saw his side through, only for his strike to end up the wrong side of the post.

Denmark qualify in second as a result of having the higher position in European qualifying rankings compared to Slovenia – with points, head-to-head, goal difference and even their disciplinary records all level – and will now face hosts Germany in the next round.

Austria top Group D after Netherlands thriller

Scorers: Gakpo 47′, Depay 75′; Malen OG 6′, Schmid 59′, Sabitzer 80′

Austria finished as surprise Group D winners following a breathless 3-2 win over the Netherlands.

Ralf Rangnick’s side took an early lead inside just six minutes through Donyell Malen turning the ball into his own net from Alexander Prass’ cross.

Ronald Koeman made a pointed substitution midway through the first half by withdrawing Joey Veerman in favour of Xavi Simons.

Within two minutes of the restart, Cody Gakpo had pulled the Oranje level with a sweeping finish after Simons launched a counterattack.

Parity lasted barely a quarter of an hour as Romano Schmid headed home after Florian Grillitsch’s cross was rebounded into his path.

Koeman’s side equalised for a second time through Memphis Depay connecting with Wout Weghorst’s knockdown header.

But Marcel Sabitzer inflected a third blow to the Dutch revival with just ten minutes by beating Bart Verbruggen at his near post.

Poland condemn France to runner-up spot

Scorers: Mbappé (PEN) 54′; Lewandowski (PEN) 79′

France had to settle for the runner-up spot after a 1-1 draw with Poland in Dortmund.

Didier Deschamps’ side fashioned the first real opening as N’Golo Kanté teed up Ousmane Dembélé, but he was denied by an advancing Łukasz Skorupski.

Poland went close through Robert Lewandowski’s header bouncing past Mike Maignan’s righthand post from Piotr Zieliński’s left-sided cross.

Les Bleus returned from the interval with renewed purpose as a returning Kylian Mbappé flashes two chances narrowly wide in the opening second-half minutes.

Their persistence was rewarded when Dembélé won a penalty when Jakub Kiwior clattered into him, allowing Mbappé to convert from the spot.

Poland were later awarded a spot kick as Dayot Upamecano fouled Karol Świderski before Maignan denied Lewandowski’s stuttered run-up.

But the Barcelona striker was afforded a retake which saw him beat Maignan at a second time of asking to condemn France to second place.