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Result: Czech Republic 0-1 England: Sterling goal sees Three Lions top group

Result: Czech Republic 0-1 England: Sterling goal sees Three Lions top group
© Reuters
The Three Lions progressed without conceding a goal.

England progressed to the European Championship knockout phase as group winners thanks to Raheem Sterling’s early header in a 1-0 victory against the Czech Republic.

Having kicked off Group D by beating World Cup semi-final foes Croatia and then been booed following the goalless draw with rivals Scotland, Gareth Southgate’s already-qualified side put in a controlled display on Tuesday.

Sterling headed home fan favourite Jack Grealish’s cross to seal a narrow win against the Czechs at Wembley, where England will return next Tuesday for a last-16 tie against France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary.

Facing the runners-up in the so-called group of death looks a tough ask but there is a lot to be said for home comforts – plus facing underdogs at the Euros does not always go well, such as Iceland five years ago.

There remains plenty for Southgate’s men to improve on after Tuesday’s hard-fought victory, but England reacted well to a disrupted build-up that saw Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell forced into isolation.

The fallout to their interaction with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for Covid-19, will rumble on, but Mount’s replacement Grealish impressed – as did fellow tournament full debutant Bukayo Saka.

Jack Grealish, right, set up Raheem Sterling's winner
Jack Grealish, right, set up Raheem Sterling’s winner (Mike Egerton/PA)

The fearless pair were involved in the winning goal under the arch, where Sterling bounced back from hitting a post in the opening stages to head home Grealish’s 12th-minute cross.

There were some nervy moments when the Czechs settled and Harry Kane’s wait for his first Euros goal continues, but England professionally saw out a forgettable second half to wrap up qualification without conceding.

England’s final Group D match started like the previous two as a Manchester City player hit the woodwork.

Sterling was sent scampering behind the Czech backline by a smart Luke Shaw pass, getting to the ball before Tomas Vaclik and leaving the goalkeeper watching helplessly as the shot bounced back off the far post.

Raheem Sterling saw an early chance hit the far post
Raheem Sterling saw an early chance hit the far post (Mike Egerton/PA)

John Stones and Kane had efforts during a bright opening that brought about a 12th-minute opener and vindication for those calling for Grealish’s inclusion.

Livewire Saka started the move in his own half that led to him sending over a cross, with the Aston Villa playmaker eventually jinking into space to send a perfect clipped ball to the far post for Sterling to head home.

“It’s coming home” echoed around Wembley, where a firm stop by Vaclik denied Kane having been found superbly by Harry Maguire on his return to action from six weeks out with an ankle complaint.

But just like the other group games, England dropped off midway through the opening period and Jordan Pickford did well to stop Tomas Holes’ impressive 30-yard drive nestling in the top left-hand corner.

SOCCER England
(PA Graphics)

The Czechs were making life uncomfortable and impressive West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek went agonisingly close when swinging a strike just wide.

England eventually settled as Grealish and Saka continued to prove exciting outlets, with Shaw seeing a cross deflect into the side-netting and Kane seeing a fizzing strike saved before offside was called.

Jordan Henderson replaced Declan Rice at the break, with the experienced vice-captain helping England stay in control without exerting themselves too much.

Attacks at either end were stopped by smart defending or poor final decisions, with Southgate turning to substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jude Bellingham in a bid to change the dynamics of the second half.

Jude Bellingham was brought on in the second half
Jude Bellingham was brought on in the second half (Nick Potts/PA)

The decision to take off Grealish was met by a smattering of jeers during a period when Maguire saw penalty claims ignored.

Tyrone Mings and Jadon Sancho came on in front of a flat Wembley crowd, with Tomas Pekhart striking just wide from the edge of the box following a hashed Pickford clearance.

Substitute Henderson thought he had scored his first international goal late on, only for the offside flag to deny him towards the end of an underwhelming match that keeps hopes of an exciting summer alive.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Scottish Premiership
Taca da Liga
Pre-Season Friendlies
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Belarusian Premier League
Major League Soccer
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX

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