Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Group C - England v Slovenia - Cologne Stadium, Cologne, Germany - June 25, 2024 England's Harry Kane after the match REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

England Record Another Disappointing Draw with Slovenia, Secures Top Spot in Euro Group

Despite England topping Group C, manager Gareth Southgate faced boos and had beer cups thrown at him by his own fans.

Slovenia also advanced to the knockout stages of Euro 2024 following a 0-0 draw in Cologne.

Although the Three Lions had already secured a spot in the last 16, they can anticipate further criticism for their lackluster performances, narrowly defeating Serbia and drawing with Denmark.

“I get it that they are not happy with me, that is the reality. I am not going to back away from that. I need them behind the team,” Southgate said of the supporters’ reaction.

“I was not going to back away from going over to thank people for coming and giving the support that they did, but I know that this is causing an issue for the group.”

England will have to wait until Wednesday’s final group games to discover which of the four best third-placed teams they will face in the last 16.

However, doubts persist about one of the tournament favorites’ capabilities to end a 58-year drought for major tournament glory, as Slovenia effectively neutralized their star-studded forward line.

“I thought we played a lot better than the other games. We couldn’t just find that finish but we look forward to the next one,” said England captain Harry Kane.

Southgate made a statement with his team selection, resisting calls for mass changes by only replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold with Conor Gallagher from the lineup of the first two games.

If the England manager was hoping to elicit a reaction by maintaining faith in the other ten starters, he was left disappointed.

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Slovenia extended their unbeaten streak to nine games, a run that included a 2-0 victory over Portugal in a pre-tournament friendly.

Declan Rice had identified Benjamin Sesko as Slovenia’s main threat earlier in the week.

Sesko, who opted to extend his contract with RB Leipzig instead of joining Rice at Arsenal, started despite a thigh injury and had the first opportunity of the match, heading weakly at Jordan Pickford just four minutes in.

Slovenian celebrations began early as it took England 20 minutes to pose a significant threat.

However, an offside flag denied them a slick opening goal when Rice found Phil Foden, who had strayed offside before setting up Bukayo Saka for a tap-in.

At halftime, Southgate brought on Kobbie Mainoo for Gallagher. The 19-year-old injected energy into England’s midfield, but the team still struggled to convert possession into clear chances.

Harry Kane had a header cleared off the line by Sesko, and Rice fired a shot wide from the edge of the box.

Southgate also introduced Cole Palmer for his first minutes of the tournament in the final 20 minutes.

Palmer, who scored 26 goals for Chelsea this season, managed England’s only shot on target in the second half but failed to seriously challenge veteran goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Slovenia celebrated a hard-earned point, securing their progression as one of the best third-placed teams with three draws from three games.

They narrowly missed out on second place in the group due to Denmark’s superior disciplinary record.

“I didn’t expect to be going into the knockout phase,” said Slovenian coach Matjaz Kek. “But we showed with our play that we deserved to be here and advance to the knockouts against one of the tournament favorites.”

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