‘A wake-up call’ – Kane, Southgate bemoan England’s display in Prague
England captain Harry Kane labelled their 2-1 defeat at Czech Republic as a “wake-up call” in what was their first loss in qualifiers for 10 years.
Kane gave England the lead from the penalty spot after five minutes, and victory would have been enough to secure their place in Euro 2020 next summer with three games remaining.
However, Czech Republic levelled four minutes later before Zdenek Ondrasek’s winner moved the hosts level on 12 points with England in Group A.
Michael Keane , Harry Maguire and Declan Rice of England look on during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Czech Republic and England at Sinobo Stadium on October 11, 2019Getty Images
England can still qualify if they win against Bulgaria in Sofia and third-placed Kosovo do not defeat Montenegro, but Kane admitted there is work to be done.
Kane said: "I think it was down to us. It was a perfect start to an away game. We were sloppy with the ball, we didn't move it as quickly as we normally do. The second half was better, we had a couple of chances to put the game to bed and we didn't and unfortunately we gave one away at the end.
" Every away game in Europe is difficult. They had the crowd behind them, sometimes the pitch is not as easy to play, but that's no excuse. It's a bit of a wake-up call but we're in a good position."
"There's still stuff to work on for sure. We gave the ball away too cheaply and we'll have to go away and look at it. There's no need to panic and we'll go again on Monday."
England manager Gareth Southgate added that a number of his players performed below par in Prague on Friday night.
Declan Rice of England reacts during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Czech Republic and England at Eden Arena on October 11, 2019Getty Images
He said: "I think we have had a lot of credit over the last couple of years and tonight we did not do enough. Our performance was not good enough, it's as simple as that. The goals we conceded were typical of the chances we gave away.
" Collectively we have to accept there were not enough good performances. We tried to change the shape which was not working, we started the second half much better and we had good chances to win the game."
"We conceded too many poor chances and we gave the ball away too many times. We knew we'd have to be at full tilt to deal with the Czech Republic but we should have been strong enough to deal with them."