England still in the mix after another drab performance

England 1–1 Denmark

In a dismal performance that was error ridden and ragged from the outset, England missed the opportunity to secure their place in the Euro 2024 knockout stages after a desperately disappointing draw in Frankfurt.

Gareth Southgate kept faith with the same starting line-up that began the tournament with a 1-0 win over Serbia in Gelsenkirken on Sunday and the match kicked off in bright sunshine with the fans of both sides in fine voice.

With the teams starting slowly, the opening minutes were cagey and low key before in the 14th minute, Kyle Walker found Phil Foden on the edge of the box, only for the precociously talented Manchester City youngster to fire high and wide of the left post.

After a solid, yet unspectacular start for the Three Lions, Walker drifted past Victor Kristiansen on England’s right to cut inside and deliver a low deflected pass across the box for skipper Harry Kane to slide the ball into the corner of the net from six yards and make it 1-0 – his 64th goal for England – and finally get his tournament up and running after a disappointing display against the Serbs.

With the Danes enjoying the majority of the possession after conceding the goal and with Christian Eriksen pulling the strings in midfield, just after the half hour mark a poorly misplaced crossfield pass from Kane following an England throw in went straight to the feet of Morten Hjulmand, for the Sporting Lisbon midfielder to take the touch before looking up and spectacularly striking the ball home through a host of bodies and via the left post from 25 yards out to make it 1-1.

On a pitch that was cutting up and deteriorating quickly following the heavy rain that has fallen in the Frankfurt area over the past few days, Denmark continued to press forward and dominate with Joachim Andersen’s header landing on top of the net and a long range effort from Pierre-Emile Hojberg, that nestled comfortably in the arms of Jordan Pickford.

With Southgate bringing Conor Gallagher on for Trent Alexander-Arnold nine minutes after the restart, almost immediately Foden was desperately unlucky not to restore the lead when his blistering 30 yard effort beat Kasper Schmeichel all ends up only to cannon off the right post and away to safety.

In a desperate attempt to force the underperforming Three Lions into the game, Southgate made a triple substitution in the 69th minute with Jarod Bowen, Eberechi Eze and Ollie Watkins replacing Foden, Saka and Kane and the change almost paid off just a minute later when Bellingham’s long through pass put Watkins in behind the Danish defence, only for Schmeichel to get down low and spectacularly block the Aston Villa striker’s effort.

With the game poised, Hojbjerg forced Pickford into a full length save to keep England on level terms before an error by Marc Guehi allowed substitute Alexander Bah an opportunity to run clear down the right side. The Crystal Palace defender quickly atoned for his mistake by getting back to shut down Bah with a critical last ditch tackle.

Five minutes before the end, after Bellingham lost possession on the right, the ball worked its way through to Tottenham’s Hojbjerg to fire just past the upright from outside the box.

A desperately poor night for England and they can be under no illusion whatsoever as to how fortunate they are to have come away from the game with a point. The travelling fans inside the Deutche Bank Park were certainly not slow to make their displeasure known, with boos clearly ringing out before the final whistle and the team being jeered from the field at the end.

England still top Group C with four points and whilst they are well on course to qualify for the last 16, neither of their performances to date have come even close to confirming their status as one of the pre-tournament favourites to win the competition.

England coach Southgate spoke after the match, saying: “We understand people will be disappointed with the performances and rightly so.

“At the moment we’re not using the ball well enough and we know there’s another level we have to find.”

England’s final group game takes place in the RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne against Slovenia on Tuesday (8.00pm)

England: Pickford, Walker, Rice, Stones, Guehi, Saka (Eze 69’) Alexander-Arnold (Gallagher 54’) Kane (Capt.) (Watkins 69’) Bellingham, Foden (Bowen 69’) Trippier. Subs not used: Ramsdale, Konsa, Dunk, Toney, Gordon, Gomez, Henderson, Palmer, Wharton, Mainoo.

Denmark: Schmeichel, Andersen, Vestergaard, Maehle, Christensen, Hojlund (Poulsen 67‘) Eriksen (Norgaard 83‘) Kristiansen (Bah 57‘) Hjulmand (Olsen 83’), Wind (Damsgaard 57‘) Hojbjerg. Subs not used: Kjaer, Jensen, Dolberg, Jorgensen, Hermansen, Ronnow, Dreyer, Kristensen, Bruun Larsen.

Referee: Artur Soares Dias

Assistants: Paulo Soares, Pedro Ribeiro

Fourth official: Mykola Balakin

VAR: Tiago Martins

Assistant VAR:Alejandro Hernandez, Juan Martinez Munuera