England just not good enough says Southgate after Czech defeat
Czech Republic's Zdenek Ondrasek scores the match-winning goal during their Euro 2020 qualifier Group A match against England at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague, Czech Republic. - Reuters
Prague - World champions France claim 1-0 win away to Iceland; Ronaldo grabs his 94th goal at international level in Portugal's 3-0 home victory over Luxembourg.
England manager Gareth Southgate said his team were simply not good enough after they slumped to a 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying defeat away to the Czech Republic on Friday.
England could have reached the finals with three games to spare with a win and, though they remain in a strong position to qualify, Southgate was far from happy with the display.
"We knew coming to Prague the (Czechs) would be highly motivated," he told reporters. "The players are human beings and some nights it doesn't happen. Tonight was one of those nights.
"We have to accept we weren't good enough, move forward and congratulate the Czechs on their performance," he added.
The result puts the Czech Republic level on 12 points with Group A leaders England, albeit having played a game more.
England's formation never looked right and they struggled with a lack of balance in midfield but Southgate said the problems were not just tactical.
"Whatever the balance, we didn't use the ball well enough. We have always maintained there is work to be done to be a really top team. Tonight was evidence of that. It's not a night for positives, that's for sure," he said.
England face Bulgaria in Sofia on Monday and Southgate has plenty to work on with his squad, which will be without left back Danny Rose who is suspended after picking up a yellow card.
"It's clear we have to improve without the ball. It's something we have spoken about all week," said Southgate.
"We didn't get the reaction we needed. It's going to be an interesting couple of days for us. We have to respond in the right way."
The performance was a throwback to the pre-Southgate era when England lacked fluency and it had little in common with some of their excellent attacking displays under him.
"I think we have had a lot of credit over the last couple of years and tonight we did not do enough. Our performance was not good enough, it's as simple as that. The goals we conceded were typical of the chances we gave away," he said.
Former England winger Chris Waddle, now a BBC expert, was scathing in his assessment of the display from a team that had won all four of their Group A matches prior to Friday.
"It was very, very, very poor. Not one player played to his ability," said the former Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Olympique de Marseille player.
"They've been brilliant so far, and they have lost against a team who played well, ran their socks off and stuck to their game plan.
"I can't really see a positive tonight for England. Nobody has come off that pitch who you can say has had a good game tonight (Friday)."
World champions France claimed a 1-0 win away to Iceland as Olivier Giroud delivered the only goal with a penalty on 66 minutes in Reykjavik.
Giroud has played sparingly for Chelsea this season but the 33-year-old is now just four goals behind Michel Platini (41) for second on France's list of all-time leading scorers.
France are level on 18 points with Turkey atop Group H ahead of Monday's showdown in Paris, where victory would send Didier Deschamps' men through to the finals.
"It was very difficult, a really hard match. We needed to take the three points and now we have an important game coming up at home," said Antoine Griezmann, who was fouled for the penalty.
"We're going to suffer against Turkey and we'll need to prepare well for it."
Cenk Tosun popped up with a 90th-minute winner for Turkey as they scraped past Albania 1-0 in Istanbul.
Iceland's first home loss in qualifying since June 2013 dropped the Nordic island nation six points adrift of the top two.
Juventus star Ronaldo grabbed his 94th goal at international level in Portugal's 3-0 home victory over Luxembourg.
Bernardo Silva opened the scoring in Lisbon in the first half before Ronaldo added a second on 65 minutes with a magnificent chip following an error in the visitors' defence.
Goncalo Guedes added a late third although defending champions Portugal still trail Group B leaders Ukraine by five points.
"We are already thinking about the crucial game with Ukraine, like we did for this one," said Portugal coach Fernando Santos.
"There are four finals left and this one is over. We want to finish first."
Portugal next travel to Kiev to face a Ukraine side on the cusp of qualification following a 2-0 home win over Lithuania secured by Atalanta midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi's brace.
A goalless draw between Montenegro and Bulgaria eliminated both teams from contention in Group A, while it was a night to remember for Andorra.
The minnows won their first European qualifier in history after 56 defeats in a row as Marc Vales' second-half header earned Andorra a 1-0 victory over 10-man Moldova.
|Euro 2020 qualifying results on Friday:|
Czech Republic 2 (Brabec 9, Ondrasek 85) England 1 (Kane 5-pen)
Montenegro 0 Bulgaria 0
Portugal 3 (Bernardo Silva 16, Ronaldo 65, Goncalo Guedes 89) Luxembourg 0
Ukraine 2 (Malinovskyi 29, 58) Lithuania 0
At Andorra la Vella
Andorra 1 (Vales 63) Moldova 0
Iceland 0 France 1 (Giroud 66-pen)
Turkey 1 (Tosun 90) Albania 0