Slovakia hold England
SAINT-ETIENNE, France (AP):
England qualified for the round of 16 at the European Championship yesterday after being held to a 0-0 draw by Slovakia on a frustrating Monday night for Roy Hodgson's team.
The result meant England were leapfrogged by Wales at the top of the Group B, after Gareth Bale helped his team beat Russia 3-0 in the other Group B match.
England created but failed to take a series of chances against a very defensive Slovakia side that can still reach the knockout stages as one of the four best third-place teams. Slovakia have four points, with England on five and Wales with six.
Slovakia had never kept a clean sheet in six previous games at a major tournament and had lost their three previous matches against England.
"It was disappointing for us tonight. In the three games, we have had the majority of the possession and today we have dominated play from start to finish and we couldn't unlock the door," England defender Gary Cahill said.
England needed a win to be sure of topping their group and avoiding potentially dangerous opponents in the last 16. Instead, they will meet Group F's runners-up, with a game against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal now a possibility.
Hodgson took a gamble by making six changes and leaving captain Wayne Rooney on the bench. It did not pay off, but his players kept the pressure up throughout the game and managed 30 shots while Slovakia rarely played in England's final third.