European Championship

Slovakia 0-0 England

By Phil McNultyChief football writer in Saint-Etienne

England manager Roy Hodgson's gamble of making wholesale changes backfired badly as they stumbled to a goalless draw against Slovakia in Saint-Etienne.

Hodgson made six changes, including resting captain Wayne Rooney, from the win against Wales - but a limp performance means Chris Coleman's side finish top of Group B and England's life is now more difficult if they go deeper into Euro 2016.

England had the better chances, with Slovakia keeper Matus Kozacik saving well when Jamie Vardy broke clear in the first half, as well as blocking crucially from Nathaniel Clyne after the break.

Rooney came on for the struggling Jack Wilshere after 55 minutes, but the pattern was set and Slovakia defended manfully for what should prove to be a precious point.

Dele Alli had also a shot kicked off the line by Martin Skrtel just seconds after coming on as a substitute on the hour.

England now travel to Nice where they face the team that finishes second in Group F - either Hungary, Portugal, Iceland or Austria - next Monday.

Hodgson kills England momentum

It was a major surprise that Hodgson chose to make such mass alterations to an England team that had finally picked up some momentum with Thursday's last-gasp victory over Wales. That win put them in position to top the group by beating Slovakia.

Instead, with nothing decided and with the group still open, Hodgson chose to leave out Rooney, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane.

Hodgson introduced Vardy and Daniel Sturridge, who both scored against Wales, as well as Clyne, Ryan Bertrand, Wilshere and Jordan Henderson. It gave England a disjointed look and they ran out of steam and threat long before the end.

Time will tell if this was the selection that proved decisive in England's Euro 2016 campaign - but the bottom line is when you make a controversial choice such as that, you need to win and Hodgson's side failed.

Slovakia's average position (left) shows just one player in England's half of the pitch
Slovakia's average position (left) shows just one player in England's half of the pitch

Wilshere a wasted pick

Wilshere was given a starting role as Hodgson shuffled his squad to inject freshness and to give those on the margins some game time - but it was a move that failed.

The 24-year-old Arsenal midfielder looked exactly what he is at the moment: less than fully fit and off the pace after a Premier League season where injuries meant he barely featured.

Wilshere played just 141 minutes of Premier League football over three games at the end of Arsenal's season. This was no sort of preparation for a major tournament and it showed, but such is Hodgson's belief in his talents that he could not resist the temptation to select him, against all logic.

He strived to somehow revive his best moments but it was not to be - not through any lack of effort, simply a lack of spark, his natural game dulled by the long absences.

Wilshere looked a dejected figure as he went off to be replaced by Rooney after only 55 minutes, the possibility growing that his chances of making a serious impact on Euro 2016 badly damaged.

Where does this leave England?

The result leaves them off to the south of France and Nice, playing next Monday instead of Saturday - but they will surely regret not finishing top of Group B.

This luxury now goes deservedly to Wales and while England will regard themselves as favourites to beat whoever finishes second in Group F, the price they pay could come further down the line.

They now go into the half of the draw containing France, Germany and Italy - and will also have to regain the impetus they had finally built up by beating Wales but was lost in this disappointing draw.

Not a good night for England. Not a good night for Roy Hodgson.

Man of the match - Eric Dier

England midfielder Eric Dier (right) in action against Slovakia at euro 2016
Eric Dier (right) had more shots (five), more passes (102) and more touches (115) than any other player

'I'm not frightened of anybody'

England manager Roy Hodgson: "If we had won the game people would say we didn't miss them [the players who were left out] and when we don't they say the team selection is wrong, I am used to that one.

"Finishing second is a disappointment but we are still in the last 16 and who is to say the team we will play will be that much stronger?

"You just don't know, the way we are playing I am not frightened of anybody."

We could not have done more - Hodgson

Slovakia coach Jan Kozak: "Our players tired as the game went on and England showed their quality and strength, but when you see an opportunity you give everything you can.

"Perhaps I didn't expect to be pressed so deeply but we made some substitutions to neutralise the impact of their attack."

The stats you need to know

  • England had 29 shots (including blocked) - their most in a European Championship finals game since 1980.
  • It was England's first 0-0 draw for 15 games, their last coming against the Republic of Ireland in June 2015.
  • This was Slovakia's first clean sheet in seven games at major tournaments.
  • England have reached the knockout stages of a European Championship for the fourth time - the previous three times were 1996, 2004 and 2012.
  • Nathaniel Clyne created seven chances for England, equalling their record for a single major tournament match since 1980.

What next?

England play their last-16 tie on Monday, 27 June at 20:00 BST, while Slovakia will have to wait to find out if they finish as one of the four best third-placed sides who progress.



Formation 4-5-1

  • 23Kozácik
  • 2Pekarík
  • 3Skrtel
  • 4Durica
  • 15Hubocan
  • 20Mak
  • 19Kucka
  • 22PecovskyBooked at 24minsSubstituted forGyömbérat 67'minutes
  • 17Hamsik
  • 7WeissSubstituted forSkriniarat 78'minutes
  • 8DudaSubstituted forSventoat 57'minutes


  • 1Mucha
  • 5Gyömbér
  • 6Gregus
  • 9Sestak
  • 10Stoch
  • 11Nemec
  • 12Novota
  • 13Hrosovsky
  • 14Skriniar
  • 16Salata
  • 18Svento
  • 21Duris


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Hart
  • 12Clyne
  • 5Cahill
  • 6Smalling
  • 21BertrandBooked at 52mins
  • 14Henderson
  • 17Dier
  • 18WilshereSubstituted forRooneyat 56'minutes
  • 15SturridgeSubstituted forKaneat 76'minutes
  • 11Vardy
  • 8LallanaSubstituted forAlliat 60'minutes


  • 2Walker
  • 3Rose
  • 4Milner
  • 7Sterling
  • 9Kane
  • 10Rooney
  • 13Forster
  • 16Stones
  • 19Barkley
  • 20Alli
  • 22Rashford
  • 23Heaton
Carlos Velasco Carballo

Match Stats

Home TeamSlovakiaAway TeamEngland
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Slovakia 0, England 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Slovakia 0, England 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Dele Alli (England) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Eric Dier.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Eric Dier (England) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathaniel Clyne.

  5. Post update

    Dele Alli (England) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Peter Pekarík (Slovakia).

  7. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  8. Post update

    Delay in match Martin Skrtel (Slovakia) because of an injury.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nathaniel Clyne (England) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Dele Alli (England) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Harry Kane.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Chris Smalling (England).

  12. Post update

    Juraj Kucka (Slovakia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Harry Kane (England) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jordan Henderson with a cross.

  14. Post update

    Corner, England. Conceded by Tomas Hubocan.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marek Hamsik (Slovakia) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is too high from a direct free kick.

  16. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  17. Post update

    Delay in match Robert Mak (Slovakia) because of an injury.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Chris Smalling (England).

  19. Post update

    Juraj Kucka (Slovakia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (England) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Nathaniel Clyne.

As It Stood




4Football Union of Russia301226-41


3Northern Ireland21012113


3Czech Rep201123-11


4R. of Ireland201114-31


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