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England 0-0 Scotland: Gareth Southgate’s side toil to stalemate draw in shabby display against the Tartan Army at Wembley

England almost certainly now have the points to qualify for the last 16.

It is more than possible they win the group by beating Czech Republic here on Tuesday. But, make no mistake, this was a chastening night for Southgate and his men.

The optimism from the Croatian win has been roundly challenged. There are problems. Harry Kane did not fire, again.

His 19 touches were the lowest number in any international in which he has played more than 45 minutes.

The midfield looked uninspiring, not least the pairing of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice, so impressive five days ago.

From the scoreline, it would be easy to dismiss this as one of those random derby encounters, except Scotland did not play in that gung-ho, underdog way.

They worked hard, good Lord they did. But the best player on the field was their young midfielder Billy Gilmour, starting his first competitive game, and only removed after 76 minutes because he had run and passed himself to a standstill.

And they created chances, some very good ones, too. A Lyndon Dykes header after 62 minutes was cleared off the line by Reece James – closer than England ever got.

Most of all, they handled England’s forwards, all that pressure, all that skill, with certainty.

It was comfortably kept at arm’s length. When Southgate introduced Jack Grealish after 63 minutes his arrival was cheered to the rafters, offering the hope of match-winning presence.

Equally, when he removed Kane 11 minutes later. Short memories, some people, but it cannot be argued that the captain played well.

Most worryingly, if Scotland had better finishers they might have won. Having looked more than the sum of their parts in Russia, England were reduced again.

At the end, Scotland celebrated as if they had won. Having so badly shaken the English sense of supremacy, maybe they did. England, indeed, should be thinking again.

ajay
Sports freak at your door step

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