Lacklustre England  held by Denmark

England failed to guarantee their place in the knock-out stages of Euro 2024 after Morten Hjulmand’s spectacular strike earned Denmark a 1-1 draw yesterday.

A point was the least the Danes deserved as England again flattered to deceive in Frankfurt after an underwhelming 1-0 win over Serbia to open their tournament.

Harry Kane had given the Three Lions an early lead as England pounced on a Danish defensive error. Hjulmand’s rocket from outside the box levelled before half-time and Denmark were left to rue missing late chances to secure a famous victory.

England remain on top of Group C, two points clear of Slovenia, who they face in Cologne on Tuesday, and Denmark.

Serbia’s late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Slovenia earlier yesterday also keeps their destiny in their own hands.

England boss Gareth Southgate said on Wednesday that he avoids media coverage during tournaments to escape negative stories. But will be braced for more criticism after another flat display from one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel claimed on the eve of the game they would not be fuelled by revenge for their Euro 2020 semi-final heartbreak to England three years ago.

However, the Danes were a different beast from the side that disappointed at the 2022 World Cup and in drawing against Slovenia to open their tournament in Germany.

Denmark had made the brighter start as both sides struggled to cope with a bobbly pitch in Frankfurt that cut up badly in just its second game of five at Euro 2024.

Yet, England capitalised on a howler from Hjulmand’s men to take the lead on 18 minutes. Victor Kristiansen was caught unaware of Kyle Walker’s run down the right and his deflected low cross fell perfectly for Kane to roll in his 13th goal at major tournaments.

Failing to build on early 1-0 leads has been a consistent criticism of England under Southgate.

In the 2018 World Cup semifinal and final of Euro 2020, Croatia and Italy were able to wrestle away momentum from the Three Lions. This time Denmark were not deterred by conceding, although it took a spectacular strike to bring them level.

Hjulmand was given far too much room by the England midfield to take aim but he took full advantage form long range with a blistering shot that clipped the inside of the post on its way in.

Southgate made no changes at the break, but the future of his experiment of playing Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold in a midfield role is in doubt after he was hooked for Conor Gallagher on 55 minutes.  — SuperSport.

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