The goal fixes everything. This time when the English came to see their people when they finished, their people were still there, not as against Scotland; And there it will continue next Tuesday, because England is still in the round of 16 at Wembley, waiting for a rival from the group of Germany, France and Portugal. Sterling clung to the stadium he imagined as his home garden, scored again, and his team is not moving. On the way they rescued Harry Kane, who returned to round the goal and re-engaged in the game, in a game in which the Czechs were satisfied with what they already had, the pass to the second round.
In the almost existential jam in which England’s attack seemed to find itself, Southgate encountered two far-from-tactical circumstances that required him to change. Mount is in quarantine and Foden has a yellow that puts him at risk of suspension. So the England coach introduced the coveted Jack Grealish and 19-year-old Bukayo Saka, and the ensuing jolt produced effects up front. He woke up.
Starting with Harry Kane, who has been on the target in recent days after two games in which he failed to send a shot between the three sticks. The captain went out to catch the match from the start, not caring where he had to go looking for it. The first balls went to claim them well within their own field. His inaugural race dusted a murmur of imminent danger in the stands as if he were stepping into the box. These descents opened large estates in defense that this time the other points attacked. Sterling went there for a ball that he found himself alone with Vaclik, who he beat with a subtle Vaseline that went to the post.
The English attack once again lived up to their names, as on Croatia day, although it is also true that the Czechs did not use themselves with the courage that the proud Scots showed in the second game. In addition to those less intense points from the rival and Kane’s determination, something else was seen that reconnected the striker to the team. Grealish has a point of pause, of false slow, that disconcerts and disorganizes the contrary and discovers spaces for his own. Also the dribbling expertise of Bukayo Saka, another magnet for rivals who until now lived perched on Kane’s hump.
The 0-1 contained almost all of that. Saka dribbled and advanced on the right with the support of Kalvin Phillips until she reached the bottom, from where she crossed it to the other side. There Grealish lowered it to Kane, placed as a buoy, who held it for a moment and returned it with the necessary air around so that Grealish could hang it delicately, almost a caress, again on the other side, where Sterling headed only to goal .
From there, it was all of England, Grealish’s controls, his exquisite touches, and Saka’s speed and dribbling, an enigma to the Czechs, of whom little news was recorded. Just a long shot from Holes that Pickford cleared.
The nitty-gritty was on the other side, where Kane got hooked on the Saka and Grealish festival, regained mastery of space, and adjusted the peephole on the door again – he smelled blood and forced an exceptional Vaclik several times. Southgate smiled again at the rescues, the reconciliation, and Sterling’s determination not to leave home, now to greet the bogeyman.