England top group at Euro 2024 after draw against Slovenia

25 June 2024, 19:23 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 22:48

England have topped their group at the Euros after a 0-0 draw with Slovenia, meaning they avoid some of the competition's top teams in the next round.

The result in Cologne was enough to send Gareth Southgate's team through as winners of Group C, on Tuesday evening.

The Three Lions have come under criticism over lacklustre performances in their group games, but managed to head into the knockouts in the strongest possible position.

Their performance, despite some bright moments, even drew some boos from the crowd as they limped over the line against Slovenia.

Southgate's men suffered the same problems as previous games, but with five points, the Three Lions made it through nonetheless and will play one of the best third-place finishers from Group D, E, or F in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday at 5pm.

Netherlands finished third in Group D and have impressed at times but suffered a surprise defeat to Ralf Rangnick's Austria, losing 3-2, Tuesday evening.

In Group E, Romania, Belgium, Slovakia, and Ukraine are all tied on three points, and the Czech Republic are in third place in Group F, level on points with Georgia, but above them on goal difference.

By drawing Tuesday evening, England managed to book themselves a place on the easier side of the tournament, avoiding the likes of France, Portugal, Spain and Germany.

Trent Alexander Arnold was dropped from the starting XI in favour of Conor Gallagher in the only change to England's team - only for the Chelsea man to be unceremoniously hooked at half-time.

The game was played in 24C heat as Germany enjoys something of a mini-heatwave, but instead of proving their critics wrong, England's players initially seemed rattled by their words.

After a slow start to the game, a rare bright spark in the first half was when Bukayo Saka finished off a well-worked movement only for Phil Foden to have strayed offside in the build up.

In the 40th minute, Captain Harry Kane and Gallagher both also missed a golden opportunity to put England ahead.

Despite that, England were largely static and uninspired throughout the game apart from some promising performances from the subs bench that will increase the clamour for Southgate to make changes in the next round.

There wasn't much to celebrate for England in terms of their performance, but Slovenia enjoyed their evening, celebrating as they qualified as one of the best third-place finishers after the game.

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Speaking after the game to ITV Sport, Southgate said: "I thought we were much improved with the ball and created some good openings, but at the moment it's hard work for us and we're not quite getting that break in front of goal.

"They [Mainoo and Palmer] are really young players so we're balancing blooding them in a different environment, but they had a really good impact when they came on and used the ball really well."

England's coach also called for patience as they hope to step up their performances, saying the team needed to take it "one step at a time".

The game also raised questions of what England will do when they face are more sophisticated opponent.