Uneasy England Lose Favourites Tag

Last updated : 07 June 2021 By Three Lions

The final formalities have been completed for England ahead of their opening Euro 2020 game, one year later than scheduled, against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

A second warm-up fixture at the weekend saw a second successive 1-0 victory, Marcus Rashford scoring a penalty to defeat Romania at the Riverside Stadium.

Gareth Southgate's final selection choice, the replacement for Trent Alexander-Arnold, was confirmed on Monday with Brighton defender Ben White getting the nod as the 26th member of the Three Lions squad.

That selection speaks of increasing concern that Harry Maguire's fitness race is going to be lost, certainly for the Croatia game.

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Jordan Henderson made his return to action against Romania but the Liverpool man remains a major doubt for the opener while the two friendlies did little to solve the selection jigsaw that Southgate faces, given that he was without his contingent of Chelsea and Manchester City players.

On the positive side that means the likes of Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling coming into the Croatia game, hopefully fresh and raring to go but the opportunity to head into the tournament with a settled side and formation has been lost to the endless grind of a ruthlessly relentless season.

England's decision to continue taking the knee has generated plenty of heat in the media but it is the on-field issues that will be concerning Southgate ahead of what has become a defining competition for the man who has done so much to restore faith in the national side.

Those issues have seen England drift in the betting in the past few days although their previous favourites tag was probably a little unrealistic and based more on the potential home advantage that they will have.

France are the clear frontrunners in the betting market but the tournament is wide open and the unique nature of a Championships taking place in different countries, during a pandemic, mean nobody will have had the perfect preparation.

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