England failed to overcome a stubborn Denmark on Tuesday evening as they stumbled to a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen.
The Three Lions failed to impress on the evening, with the Danes claiming a well-earned point. Here are five things we learnt from the game:
Another slow England start
Much like in the game against Iceland, it took quite a lot of time for the Three Lions to settle into the game. Southgate’s men looked extremely disjointed throughout the evening, struggling to get to grips with a three at the back system.
Kane, selected as a lone frontman was starved of any real service and unable to get into the game against a Denmark defence that was well-drilled and disciplined. It took until the 93rd minute of the match for England’s first shot on target through Kane, highlighting the real lack of fluency and threat that England carried, a common theme throughout the recent international break.
Clear chances missed for the Danes
Whilst England were very under par, Denmark put in a very professional showing and might well have won the match too. The hosts had a number of opportunities to claim maximum points through Braithwaite, Dolberg and Eriksen. Meanwhile, the Inter Milan man might have felt he had the best opening of the game as the ball fell to him just yards from goal. He somehow blasted the ball high over the crossbar though as the hosts let England escape with a point.
Mount makes a difference
One of the real problems for the visitors was the system that Southgate elected to use throughout the game, employing both Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips as defensive midfielders, with Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Kane in attack. For the best part of an hour, there was a real gap between the two lines, really restricting the potential of any forward momentum.
That was somewhat rectified on the hour with Mason Mount being introduced. The Chelsea man was able to find space in the number 10 position, leading to a much more threatening England side. On reflection, Southgate may somewhat regret not starting the youngster from the off.
Plenty of debuts
With a number of players unavailable for both Southgate and his opposite number, Kasper Hjulmand, there was understandably a few debuts afforded to a couple of uncapped players in Copenhagen. Leeds United’s Phillips was selected, whilst Conor Coady was named in the heart of defence, for their first appearances for their countries. Neither player really stole the show on a fairly quiet evening but at the same time did not do their hopes of any future international caps any harm at all. Jack Grealish and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were introduced from the bench to yet hand out more international caps.
Meanwhile, Christian Norgaard of Brentford was given his Danish debut and looked immediately at home. The midfielder put in a solid performance in the centre of the park, producing a few key tackles and blocks.
Belgium in control?
Following the draw for the Nations League, Belgium were understandably the favourites to qualify for the group and even after two matches, that looks extremely likely. England certainly do not look at their best having just managed to get past Iceland, whilst stumbling against Denmark. Neither of their two opponents have been particularly convincing either.
Meanwhile, Belgium have been ruthless in their opening two matches, dismissing of Iceland 5-1 on Tuesday and now look in firm control of the group.
Denmark: Schmeichel (7); Skov (6), Christensen (7), Jorgensen (7), Wass (6); Delaney (7), Norgaard (7) (Hojbjerg (6), 73′), Eriksen (6); Braithwaite (7) (Kjaer (N/A), 83′), Dolberg (6) (Falk (N/A), 76′), Poulsen (6).
England: Pickford (6), Trippier (6), Coady (7), Gomez (7), Alexander-Arnold (7) (Maitland-Niles (N/A), 87′); Phillips (6) (Grealish (N/A), 76′), Dier (6), Rice (6); Sancho (5) (Mount (6), 60′), Sterling (6), Kane (6).
Referee: Istvan Kovacs
Yellow Cards: Braithwaite (52′)
Red Cards: N/A