England failed to find their attacking groove against Slovakia and as a result top spot in Group B slipped away. Following a dramatic win over Wales in their last game, England could not carry forward the momentum, firing blanks in front of goal, with the 0-0 draw, while ensuring their qualification into the next round, only giving them a second-place finish in Group B and a possibly tricky opponent in the round of 16.
England had all the possession in the match, but despite the dominance with the ball, chances did not come around as often as they would have liked. With the amount of changes that Roy Hodgson made – six in all – England might have been forgiven for taking a while to get into their attacking groove, but they kept that foot on the accelerator, even if the final ball or just that little bit of magic in the last third was missing.
The best two chances came for Jamie Vardy and Adam Lallana. The Leicester City striker will feel he should have scored when put through on goal, running ahead of Martin Skrtel, only to see his shot saved well by Matus Kozacik.
Kozacik had to bring his reflexes into play again to deny Adam Lallana, whose snapshot, after a nice cross from Liverpool teammate Nathaniel Clyne, was saved by the goalkeeper.
Early in the second half, Slovakia showed one or two signs of threatening the England goal, with Robert Mak nearly scoring off a mistake from Chris Smalling, while Vladimir Weiss forced a save off Joe Hart, after cutting in, in a similar manner to when he scored in the last game.
England, though, again had all the control, with Roy Hodgson, knowing the need for some fresh impetus, bringing on Wayne Rooney after ten second half minutes in the place of Jack Wilshere, who just could not bring his usual skills into play.
Dele Alli also came on a little while later and nearly scored seconds after coming on as he got on the end of a far post cross from Clyne, only to see his shot cleared off the line by Martin Skrtel. Clyne, who was outstanding at right-back for England, then forced a save as well, from a play where he could have easily won a penalty had he gone down under the attention of Vladimir Weiss and Jan Durica.
A lot of huffing and puffing went on in the final 20 minutes, with England pushing and probing, but Skrtel and co. held firm for the point, leaving the English to contemplate a second place finish in Group B after Wales comfortably beat Russia in the other Group B game. Slovakia finished third, and they will, most likely, qualify as one of the four best third-placed teams, considering they have four points.