England drop to third in Nations League Group A and must avoid defeat in Belgium to stand chance of winning group; Harry Maguire sees red for two yellow cards, before Christian Eriksen nets penalty on 100th cap and Reece James sees red after FT
Wednesday 14 October 2020 22:13, UK
Harry Maguire and Reece James saw red as England were beaten 1-0 by Denmark at Wembley to fall from top spot to third in their Nations League group.
England were given a mountain to climb with two big incidents in the space of three first-half minutes; first Maguire was sent off for a second yellow card (32), before Christian Eriksen put Denmark ahead from the spot (35) after Kyle Walker had fouled Thomas Delaney in the penalty area, a soft award from card-happy referee Jesus Gil Manzano.
Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel kept Denmark ahead in the second half with a world-class save from Mason Mount’s close-range header, while Simon Kjaer’s brilliant last-gasp block denied Conor Coady late on.
James was also sent off after full-time for his protestations towards the officials, as England suffered only their second competitive defeat at home in 13 years.
The result, paired with Belgium’s win over Iceland, means England must avoid defeat away at Belgium in their next Nations League clash on November 15 to stand a chance of winning their group and repeat their successful 2018 campaign.
How England shot themselves in foot on grim night
Though England were finding space down the right flank through Mount and James early on, they struggled to create any clear-cut chances in the first half as Denmark’s stubborn defence stood firm.
And England’s task was made more difficult in a calamitous three-minute spell as Maguire – booked in the fifth minute for a late challenge on Yussuf Poulsen – received a second booking after his poor touch forced him to stretch to retrieve the ball, catching Kasper Dolberg on the follow through.
Spanish referee Manzano didn’t hesitate in showing a second yellow, and just two minutes later he awarded Denmark a dubious penalty.
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As Walker moved in to challenge Delaney just inside the box, Jordan Pickford rushed out and called for the ball, prompting the Manchester City man to first hold back, and then move in to challenge Delaney as he realised Pickford wouldn’t make it. Walker then slightly caught Delaney on his follow through, but with the ball already gone, and no VAR, the award was questionable.
On his 100th cap, Eriksen converted down the middle for the opener.
That prompted a change for England as Ainsley Maitland-Niles made way for Tyrone Mings, and though Denmark failed to create many chances thereafter, the hosts couldn’t find a breakthrough.
Their best chance fell to Mount, who received Harry Kane’s knockdown from a corner six yards out, only to see his point-blank header wonderfully tipped away by the left hand of Schmeichel.
Daniel Wass then headed over unmarked at the other end from some flat-footed Walker marking, but England still had a chande to level in stoppage time as Conor Coady’s goalbound header was blocked superbly by Kjaer inside the six-yard box.
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England’s frustrations boiled over at full-time as James was dismissed on a grim night for Gareth Southgate, a night of mistakes just three days after beating the world’s top-ranked side.
Southgate made five changes from the 2-1 victory over Belgium on Sunday, two enforced with Dier and Trippier unavailable and coming out for Coady and Maitland-Niles.
James replaced Alexander-Arnold, Phillips was in for Henderson, and Harry Kane returned in place of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Mason Mount keeps his place, with Jack Grealish remaining on the bench.
Denmark were unchanged following their 3-0 win against Iceland on Sunday
“The biggest doubt I have about England winning a tournament next year is individual errors,” said Sky Sports‘ Gary Neville on commentary, and now their success in this Nations League is out of their hands as they look ahead to November’s internationals.
‘Maguire confidence on the floor’
Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp:
“I think his confidence is on the floor, it’s obvious. You don’t become captain of Manchester United unless you’ve got a lot about you. You have a presence and a quality that people like, they admire – and right now, his confidence is on the floor.
“Everything I hear about him, he’s a really good lad, but he’s making mistakes that I didn’t see him make a few years go. He’s got a lot on his mind, we can try and brush it aside and some players can handle it, it doesn’t bother them and the pitch is their sanctuary.
“But others can’t. They go on there and carry it onto the pitch. You don’t know what’s going on in people’s minds, we’re all very quick to judge. People are ripping him apart on social media, saying it’s the worst England display they’ve ever seen, but you don’t know how someone feels when they go on the field.
“They’re two errors that might look really simple but he’s making a lot of individual mistakes right now. He’s got to pick himself up, you’ve got to show something and I think he’ll have a good support system around him. I’ve got no doubt, because of the man he is, he’ll come back and get through this.”
- This was only England’s third home defeat in their last 50 competitive internationals on home soil (W41 D6), also losing against Croatia in November 2007 and Spain in September 2018 in this run.
- Harry Maguire became the third player to be sent off for England at Wembley, after Paul Scholes (1999 vs Sweden) and Steven Gerrard (2012 vs Ukraine).
- England received a red card and conceded a penalty goal in the same international for the first time since their last 16 match at the 1998 World Cup vs Argentina.
- Harry Maguire’s red card after 31 minutes was the second earliest by an England player in an international, after Rob Green vs Ukraine in October 2009 (14 minutes).
With New Zealand cancelling their trip to Wembley for the proposed friendly on November 12, England’s next arranged match comes away at Belgium on Saturday November 15 at 7.45pm in the Nations League, before hosting Iceland on November 18.
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