If the performance against Wales was inspiring enough to warrant high hopes, England extinguished them as quickly in their match against Slovakia. Pitted against a less illustrious opponent, the Three Lions completely failed to break them down and in the end qualified for the next round only in the second place behind Wales.
Roy Hodgson rang as many as six changes to the side that started against Wales with Wayne Rooney among those rested and the goal scoring heroes Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge rewarded. Although they dominated proceedings at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, England were let down by poor finishing. For their part, Slovakia needs a pat on its back for being the resolute of the two, producing a dogged rearguard action. In between, there was enough time for Chris Smalling and Joe Hart to nearly put Slovakia ahead. It was to Hodgson’s relief that Slovakia chose not to cash this gift.
The game had long spells of action in the Slovakian half but goal keeper Matus Kozacik and poor finishing let England down. The introduction of Wayne Rooney added more intensity to the attacks but the final output was missing from the Three Lions. In the end, the draw typified the kind of struggle this side will have in breaking down resolute teams. The result doesn’t hinder their chances of progression but England may be left ruing if they end up facing a stronger opponent.
Player of the game
Slovakia were ready to face the bombarding attacks of England from the outset but no one repelled them better than Kozacik in the goal. The Slovakian stopper was brilliant with his positioning and made many saves to save the day for his team with a draw. He was the reason behind England not ending up with full points.