Barely 72 hours after raising expectations with a 2-1 win over Belgium, England quickly lowered them back down with a 1-0 loss to Denmark. The result drops England to just third in Group 2A in the Nations League, though it is only the Three Lions’ first loss in a little less than a year.
Gareth Southgate once again opted for a conservative lineup, with three at the back and two holding midfielders in Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice, and while that was probably overkill against a Denmark side with one dangerous player, the bigger problem for England was Harry Maguire’s latest terrible game. The world’s most expensive defender managed to collect two yellow cards in the first 30 minutes, and while the referee wasn’t exactly good either, there were few complaints about this decision.
England then quickly gave away a penalty, then labored on for an hour, searching for an equalizer. Mason Mount, who started once again, came very close on the hour-mark, only for Kasper Schmeichel to pull off a fantastic save.
Mount was replaced soon after by Jadon Sancho, who has remained involved with the squad after the distractions of last week, unlike Tammy Abraham, who’s since returned to Chelsea and was spotted in training at Cobham on Wednesday instead. Ben Chilwell had already returned earlier in the week as well.
The only other Chelsea player involved for England was Reece James, making his first start for the senior national team, and he was one of the better performers for the team, even if also was sent off at the very end after the referee completely lost the plot.
For Denmark, Andreas Christensen started but only played the first half and was bailed out by his defensive partner Simon Kjaer a couple times. (Kjaer, who once almost signed for Chelsea before we opted for David Luiz, the first time, later also made a goalline clearance to preserve Denmark’s clean sheet.)
Elsewhere, Jorginho played the full 90 as Italy drew 1-1 with the Netherlands (Emerson not involved at all), while there were starts for youngsters Ethan Ampadu (Wales) and Armando Broja (Albania) as well. Meanwhile, France beat Croatia, 2-1, featuring substitute appearances from Olivier Giroud and Mateo Kovacic and a skip from N’Golo Kante, who apparently has “muscle fatigue”.
Muscle fatigue is a pretty good description for the international break as a whole, but thanksfully it is now over.