International

Euro 2020: Three Blues feature in home nations stalemate

There was plenty of excitement leading up to the game, there were no goals by the final whistle, but there were three Chelsea players heavily involved in England’s meeting with Scotland at Wembley.

Billy Gilmour was handed his first Scotland start and his first competitive action for his nation, having been given his maiden two caps as a substitute in two warm-up friendlies by Steve Clarke, and has every right to be pleased with his 75 minutes in which he was tidy in possession throughout. He was named UEFA's Star of the Match.

There was an increase in Chelsea presence in Gareth Southgate’s England side too with Reece James joining Mason Mount in the side. James was one of two changes from the Three Lions’ win over Croatia, with the other full-back switched as well, Luke Shaw coming in, and our right-back was crucial in the England clean sheet with a goal-mouth clearance.

There was no shortage of direct midfield combat between Mount and Gilmour at a wet Wembley, and as all Blues fans would expect, the England man was involved in plenty of the main incidents in what proved to be an even contest between these old rivals.

It was Scotland who had the first shot of the game which was blocked, and it was Mount who had the first effort for England, deflected behind for a corner. Mount took that corner and it was met by John Stones who unmarked, headed against the near post. That was as close as either team came before the interval.

Two minutes after England’s woodwork strike, Mount had a close-range chance of his own when he ran onto Sterling’s pass after Scotland were caught in possession, but he knocked the ball wide.

Further England openings came and went, with Phil Foden shooting wide from an offside position and then just before the half-hour mark, a classic Reece James cross sought out Harry Kane. The England captain at the far post could not send the ball on target with a diving header.

Moments later, Scotland could well have taken the lead through Stephen O’Donnell but the wing-back’s sweet volley was well saved by Jordan Pickford to ensure there were no goals before half-time.

In the third minute of the second half, Mount from 20 yards out forced a diving save from David Marshall. It was England’s only shot on target. Fifty-five minutes in, there was a chance for James from similar range but he flashed it past the angle of post and bar.

There was another side of James’ game soon after when he moved across to head away a Lyndon Dykes shot from in front of goal. Scotland had thought they were about to score but it was not their last good opportunity. With just over 10 minutes to go, Che Adams blazed a shot over at the back post.

The Three Lions could not capitalise from a goalmouth scramble in added time so an England-Scotland clash at Wembley finished scoreless for the first time in the fixture’s long history.

Ben Chilwell was named among the England substitutes for this game but remained unused.

A win would have qualified England for the knockout stages with a game to spare. Now they still need to take a point when they meet Czech Republic, who also have four points, on Tuesday. Scotland need to beat Croatia at Hampden Park on the same night.

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