England & Euro 2020
England are gearing up for their second major tournament under Gareth Southgate.
The ex-Middlesbrough man led the Three Lions out at the 2018 World Cup and was able to guide them to the semi-finals, which was their highest finish in the competition since 1990.
And at Euro 2020, a case can be made that England’s squad is much stronger than it was in Russia.
Granted, the centre-back and goalkeeping spots remain a concern. However, England can now call upon players such as Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Jude Bellingham, Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish – none of which were present in Russia.
England have also been drawn in a pretty favourable group this summer. Croatia are perhaps the strongest side in Group D other than England, but they are not the side they were in 2018 when they made it all the way to the final.
Elsewhere, Czech Republic and Scotland are both teams England should be able to see off with relative ease if they are on their game.
England’s record in major tournaments
As a result, England fans are no doubt quietly optimistic ahead of Euro 2020 getting underway next week.
That optimism will probably be delt something of a blow with the following stat, however.
As revealed by The Guardian’s James Dart, England have a pretty dire record after scoring first at major tournaments.
Since 2000, they have won just 50 per cent of games after scoring first, drawing seven and losing six – the last of those losses of course coming in the World Cup semi-final when they went 1-0 up vs Croatia and lost 2-1.
In comparison, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have markedly better records after going in front first.
— James Dart (@James_Dart) June 4, 2021