'Absolute disgrace': Outrage over farcical Euro 2020 scenes

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Chelsea and England teammates Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell are seen here at training.
Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell both missed England's last group game because they had to isolate. Pic: Getty

England sealed top spot in their group at Euro 2020 despite the "bizarre" absence of two of their star players in a situation that has left the football world fuming.

The Three Lions won 1-0 win against Czech Republic at Wembley, despite missing star duo Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, who were forced into Covid-19 isolation.

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Chelsea players Mount and Chilwell were both forced to isolate after coming into contact with their club teammate Billy Gilmour after England's 0-0 draw with Scotland.

Gilmour was revealed on Monday to have tested positive for the virus and although the England duo have since tested negative, the close contact means they must remain in self-isolation up to and including June 28.

Despite testing negative for Covid-19, they could still miss England's last-16 match in a dilemma that England manager Gareth Southgate says is "full of contradictions".

"They are hugely disappointed to miss the games," Southgate told ITV. 

"We just have to get on with it.

"It is a bizarre situation, they have spent 120 seconds too long in a fairly open space. It is full of contradictions for me but we will get on with it.

"I don't understand it because there are teams travelling around by planes, coach and by bus in enclosed spaces for hours and our two boys have been pinged. I really don't get it."

England's entire squad had lateral flow tests at the start of the week and all returned negative results.

Public Health England (PHE) worked with the Football Association to confirm the duo as close contacts of Gilmour, which prompted the 10-day period of isolation.

After the pair initially isolated as a precaution on Monday, Southgate said having Mount and Chilwell quarantined for 10 days would be the "the worst-case scenario".

The chaotic situation has led to angry football fans questioning why the England duo have been forced to isolate, when Gilmour's Scottish teammates - who have spent much more time in close proximity to the midfielder - are allowed to play.

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Fortunately for England, the absence of Mount and Chilwell didn't affect the result against the Czechs as a Raheem Sterling goal gave them a 1-0 win.

The same couldn't be said for Gilmore and Scotland as the midfielder could only watch on as his side exited the tournament on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Croatia.

That result sees Croatia go through to the knockout stages in second spot behind England, with the Czech Republic joining them in the last 16 as one of best third-placed teams.

Early goal decisive for England

Sterling, who kept his place alongside Harry Kane in a rejigged attack, settled fans' nerves with an early headed goal, which ultimately proved decisive.

Southgate made four changes to the side that produced an insipid display in the 0-0 draw against Scotland, handing Jack Grealish and Bukayo Sako their first starts of the tournament.

Seen here, England manager Gareth Southgate consoles Jack Grealish.
England manager Gareth Southgate handed Jack Grealish a start in the absence of Mason Mount. Pic: Getty

With Mount unavailable, Southgate also opted to leave Phil Foden out to prevent the risk of a suspension.

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire made his first appearance of Euro 2020 alongside John Stones in central defence.

Both teams had already qualified for the last 16, but top spot in the group was on the line, and with it the dubious privilege of a potential clash against world champions France, holders Portugal or Germany.

The home side started brightly in the evening sunshine and Sterling went agonisingly close in just the second minute but could only watch as his deft chip over the goalkeeper come back off the post after he collected a raking pass from Luke Shaw.

As chants of "Football's Coming Home" rang around the stadium, captain Kane - heavily criticised for his toothless performances in the tournament so far - shot from distance and Grealish let fly.

England broke the deadlock in the 12th minute, when Grealish, on the left side of the penalty area, lifted the ball to the back post, where Sterling headed in for his second goal of Euro 2020.

Pictured here, Raheem Sterling celebrates his goal for England.
Raheem Sterling's early goal proved the difference against the Czech Republic. Pic: Getty

There was a further cheer among the 22,500 fans when it was flashed up on the stadium screens that Scotland were losing 1-0 to Croatia in Glasgow.

Grealish and Sako were inventive and direct on either side of Kane, showing a willingness to run at their opponents and Kane went close midway through the first half, forcing a fine left-handed save from Tomas Vaclik and thumping the ground in frustration

But the Czechs carried a threat of their own on their forays forward, growing in menace as the half wore on.

Tomas Holes forced a flying save from England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford just before the half-hour and Tomas Soucek fired wide of the left post.

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson replaced Declan Rice at half-time and the Czechs made their own change, bringing on Petr Sevcik for Jakub Jankto.

Sterling and Grealish were replaced by Marcus Rashford and teenager Jude Bellingham with a quarter of the match to go among a raft of substitutions by either side.

There was a huge cheer when it was announced that Scotland were now trailing 3-1 to Croatia as the game at Wembley lost some of its intensity.

Henderson briefly thought he had scored his first England goal late on but the goal was ruled out for offside.

England finished top of Group D with seven points while Croatia are second with four points. 

with agencies

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