Sluggish England held scoreless in Denmark

Copenhagen (AFP)


England were lucky to escape with a 0-0 draw away to Denmark on Tuesday after the hosts wasted the best chances in Copenhagen.

Gareth Southgate's preparation for the game was thrown into turmoil when Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood were sent home on Monday after breaching coronavirus protocols following Saturday's 1-0 victory in Iceland.

Southgate can use that distraction and a lack of match fitness ahead of the start to the Premier League season on Saturday as excuses for the Three Lions' lack of sharpness going forward, in sharp contrast to their free-scoring form in qualifying for Euro 2020 prior to the coronavirus shutdown.

Leeds' Kalvin Phillips and Wolves captain Connor Coady were handed their international debuts in an experimental 3-4-3 system that struggled to get the front three of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho into the game.

Denmark were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Belgium in their Nations League opener at the weekend, but it was the hosts who came closest to opening the scoring before half-time.

Kasper Dohlberg fired over before a neat turn from Christian Eriksen put the Nice striker in on goal, but Jordan Pickford was equal to his shot at the near post.

England improved markedly after the break once Mason Mount was introduced to rebalance the midfield, but clear chances were still few and far between as Kane headed over Kieran Trippier's cross before Kasper Schmeichel turned behind Sterling's low shot.

The best opportunities to break the deadlock for both sides came in the final 10 minutes as firstly Eriksen blazed over from Yussuf Poulsen's cushioned header.

At the other end, his former Tottenham teammate Kane thought he had notched the winner deep in stoppage time as he rounded Schmeichel and fired goalwards only for Mathias Jorgensen to make a brilliant goal-line clearance.

Belgium's 5-1 win over Iceland in Brussels moves them to the top of League A Group 2 ahead of their trip to England next month.