Euro round up: England's unconvincing win, Netherlands make a great comeback, Denmark share points

June 17, 2024 - 11:11
Expectations on England before the tournament have rarely ever been higher, but they only managed a narrow victory against Serbia.

Xuân Đăng

Bellingham celebrates his goal which helped the 'Three Lions' get a narrow win against Serbia. VNA/VNS Photo

Jude Bellingham scored a crucial goal for England on a day when he became the first European player to make an appearance at three major international tournaments, all before turning 21.

Expectations on England before the tournament have rarely ever been higher, but they only managed a narrow victory against Serbia.

England were finalists at the last Euros, losing on penalties to Italy three years ago, so this time around they are favourites, while Serbia is playing in the Euros for the first time since 2000.

The starting line up was at full strength including Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden, so it appeared that the night would see Gareth Southgate's team dominate from the start.

England took the lead in the 13th minute when Bellingham burst into box with a powerful header from a Bukayo Saka cross and for the rest of the first half they controlled the game.

Kyle Walker had the best chance to double their lead before the break, when he pulled an effort wide after a lung-busting run into the Serbian box from right-back.

But that was all England could do, offering nothing but disappointment to supporters.

The second period was a different story as England sat on their lead and were lucky not to be punished. The Serbian threat grew while England looked nervous in possession. But Serbia failed to muster a single shot until the 82nd minute when Dusan Vlahovic’s strike from outside the box nearly caught Jordan Pickford by surprise, before the England goalkeeper tipped the ball over the bar.

With this narrow win, England recorded its fifth straight clean sheet in the group stage of the Euros; the first team ever to achieve this.

Denmark - Slovenia: One point for both teams

Denmark’s midfielder ,Christian Eriksen and Slovenia’s midfielder Benjamin Verbic shake hands after both team get a point. VNA/VNS Photo

'Iron - man', Eriksen scored for Denmark in a 1-1 draw with Slovenia, almost three years to the day since he nearly died in his team's opening game at the last tournament.

The Manchester United midfielder helped his team ahead in front of a Stuttgart stadium filled overwhelmingly by Denmark supporters.

In the 17th minute, his Manchester United team-mate Rasmus Hojlund won a throw in and Jonas Wind's back-heeled flick put Eriksen in a perfect spot to take a low shot into the far corner and give the Danes the lead.

It was the 42nd goal Eriksen had scored for his country (he is now tied for fourth in the all time goal-scoring record) and was surely the most emotional.

It certainly prompted ecstatic celebrations among the red wedge of the Stuttgart Arena, along with millions watching around the world.

Yesterday marked 1,100 days since Christian Eriksen collapsed at Copenhagen’s Parken stadium during a Euro 2020 game against Finland after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Eriksen’s physical recovery is nothing short of a miracle and the fact that he managed to resume his football career at the top level is a marvel.

Denmark averaged close to 70 per cent possession throughout the game and would often have ten outfielders camped inside Slovenia’s half.

On the other side, Benjamin Sesko of Slovenia showed why he is one of the most promising and highly coveted young players in Europe.

In the 78th minute, his powerful shot from outside the penalty area won a corner for the team.

Number 13 Erik Janza was the lucky one, making lovely contact with it on the half-volley and the ball flew into the net.

Poland - Netherland: Wout Weghorst to the rescue

Netherlands' forward Wout Weghorst helped the Oranje to break down Poland in late minutes. VNA/VNS Photo

Within two minutes Gakpo collected the ball on the left side of the area, cut onto his right foot and drove a low shot that was pushed around the near post by Szczesny.

Poland, without their superstar Robert Lewandowski, had found the way to open the score in the 15th minute.

Robert's replacement who matured in Major League Soccer, Adam Buksa, used all of his used his 1.91 metres (6'3") height to guide a header into the net when circled by four Dutch defenders.

The Netherlands found a rapid equaliser, though, as Bartosz Salamon deflected Cody Gakpo’s shot past Wojicech Szczesny in the 29th minute.

Moments before half-time, Depay engineered a chance to edge the Netherlands ahead, but steered his efforts wide.

It was a closer game than perhaps many would have expected and Poland caused the Oranje problems throughout, in particular in the second half.

There were fewer chances for the Oranje after the break but as Poland sat back, coach Michal Probierz took off Zielinski, his captain, while Ronald Koeman sent on Donyell Malen, Wout Weghorst and Jeremie Frimpong, all of whom made a difference.

In his first touch after two minutes and 18 seconds after coming on, a quick left shot from Wout Weghorst helped the team to win the game.

Another huge international goal for Weghorst, who stunned Argentina at the World Cup in 2022 with a late equaliser in the quarterfinals, as the Netherlands next face the tough test of France. VNS