England and Scotland battled to a goalless draw at Wembley in an absorbing Euro 2020 contest to leave Group D delicately poised heading into the final round of games.
The game was defined by full-backs for both teams with Gareth Southgate making the bold call to switch out Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker for Luke Shaw and Reece James.
Shaw endured a tough start, especially defensively, with Stephen O’Donnell exposing both his and Mason Mount’s loose marking early on.
The Motherwell defender overlapped superbly before cutting back to hand Che Adams a glorious chance to break the deadlock, only for John Stones to block.
A second big chance saw the 29-year-old almost find the net himself. James was the victim of sublime interplay between Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson down the left.
And the former picked out O’Donnell, who had cleverly pulled away at the back post, but Jordan Pickford made a great stop to keep out his sweetly-struck volley.
The mixed performances for the hosts’ full-backs means Southgate now has a decision to make against Czech Republic over whether Trippier comes straight back in to play slightly out of position, or if he opts to take a closer look at Ben Chilwell.
Here are four more things we learned from Wembley Stadium:
Reece James shields the ball from Andy Robertson
Gilmour overcomes hot start to show great promise
A monumental stage for your full debut, Gilmour was treated to a heavy challenge from Chelsea teammate Mason Mount and his intense press early on.
A hot pace appeared to overwhelm Gilmour at times in the opening stages, with Luke Shaw’s give-and-go spinning him as the Three Lions surged down the left flank to open up the visitors.
The theme of Mount harassing Gilmour in possession continued, with the 20-year-old wriggling free against one of the very best in the game at pressing. Gilmour was soon tasked with struggling back out of possession against Mount too, with England’s attacking midfielder’s displaying great power and then composure to chop back inside and loft a delightful ball in behind for Raheem Sterling.
Gilmour gradually settled though, displaying great character to continue playing his game and not opting for the easiest option whenever fed the ball.
His tiresome work in midfield allowed Scotland to become a threat at turnovers too, with his excellent, snappy distribution finding Adams between the lines to launch counter-attacks.
In all it was a fascinating full debut that will bring great excitement about the future of Scottish football.
Billy Gilmour fights for the ball with Raheem Sterling
Lahoz establishing himself as best referee in Europe
Antonio Mateu Lahoz was selected as the referee for the game at Wembley Stadium with great familiarity with English football fans after such an excellent job in Porto last month officiating Man City vs Chelsea in the Champions League final.
Our first signature moment from Lahoz arrived when John McGinn dished out some verbals towards the Spanish official, only to be shown a yellow card and a clear gesture to keep quiet.
The game was allowed to flow beautifully in the London rain, with Lahoz doing what he did best in Porto, giving himself time and making firm decisions.
Unless Spain reach the final on 11 July, Lahoz is primed to pair a European Championship final to go with the Champions League final last month.
Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz took charge at Wembley Stadium
Kane’s concerning form continues
Harry Kane continued his slow start to Euro 2020, cutting a lethargic figure as the Three Lions struggled to implement a high press again.
Kane’s lack of involvement in the first half was alarming, with just two completed passes from five attempted.
His second half didn’t start much better, with England looking to go long when Scotland ventured forward, but Grant Hanley was able to outmuscle him in the air.
His lack of speed was matched with a timid approach in the air as Grant Hanley gleefully outmuscled him whenever England launched it long.
Ultimately Southgate concurred that Kane’s peripheral role was hurting England with his substitution with 16 minutes remaining long overdue.
It’s now six touches in the opposition’s penalty area this tournament and unless Kane snaps out of his slump, England’s chances this summer will fizzle out.
Harry Kane falls to the ground against Scotland
Adams adds new dimension for Scotland
An obvious change for Steve Clarke to his starting line-up, given his impact off the bench against Czech Republic, but Che Adams provided a better balance to Scotland’s attack.
The Southampton forward expertly held his run for a glorious early chance, making a good connection with the ball destined for the corner only for Stones to make a decisive block.
England continued to struggle to contain Adams in the half-spaces, but his lack of composure inside the box proved costly when a loose ball fell his way before the hour mark.
Twisting and turning, Adams worked the space, but rather than find a teammate on the edge of the area, he shot on the turn as the danger evaporated.
But Adams undoubtedly provided the springboard for Clarke’s system, justifying his inclusion and bringing excitement about the future.
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