August 22, 2019
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England clinches Nations League 3rd spot after penalty shootout

Guimaraes, Portugal, Jun 9 (efe-epa).- England's soccer national team claimed the third spot in the 2018/2019 UEFA Nations League after a 6-5 penalty shootout win over Switzerland, as the two sides played to a scoreless deadlock in both regular and extra times.

The shootout at the 12-yard mark was needed to determine the winner, with both teams scoring on their first five shots, and then England Eric Dier successfully delivering on the sixth while Switzerland's Josip Drmic squandered the follow-up shot.

It was England who wanted the victory the most after 120 minutes of play, and apparently this newfound drive was the result of changes coach Gareth Southgate made in the side's starting lineup, whereupon the Lions showed more ambition in pushing for the win after losing the semifinal clash to Netherlands a few days ago.

It was as early as third minute when Harry Kane, who was among the starters, tried his luck with a shot that hit the crossbar.

A second chance came shortly before the quarter-hour mark, when Raheem Sterling was near to getting England on the scoreboard but Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer was there with a good save.

Just before halftime, Dele Alli squandered a clear chance to open the scoring for the Lions when he sent a header from inside the box just a little too high.

Switzerland tried to react after the intermission, and midfielder Granit Xhaka was the first to pose a threat at the English net but goalie Jordan Pickford cleared it.

England did find the Swiss net with six minutes to go, as Callum Wilson made the most of a ricocheted ball inside the area, but it was ruled out after consulting the video assistant referee (VAR).

A 30-minute extra time then was forced, during which Sterling lacked precision, squandering two clear scoring opportunities - first with a shot saved by Sommer and then when his free-kick try hit the crossbar - and finally it was the penalty shootout that was the decider.

-Lineups:

0 - Switzerland: Yann Sommer, Nico Elvedi, Fabian Schaer, Manuel Akanji, Kevin Mbabu, Edimilson Fernandes (Denis Zakaria, m.61), Granit Xhaka, Remo Freuler, Ricardo Rodriguez (Josip Drmic, m.87), Xherdan Shaqiri (Steven Zuber, m.65) and Haris Seferovic (Noah Okafor, m.113).

0 - England: Jordan Pickford, Trent Alexander Arnold, Joseph Gomez, Henry Maguire, Danny Rose (Kyle Walker, m.70), Eric Dier, Fabian Delph (Ross Barckley, m.116), Jesse Lingard (Jadon Sancho, m.106), Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane (Callum Wilson, m.75).

Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (Romania). Showed yellow card to England's Danny Rose and Jesse Lingard, as well as to Switzerland's Granit Xhaka.

The match, held at Dom Afonso Henriques Stadium in Guimaraes, Portugal, was the third-place play-off contest of the inaugural season of the UEFA Nations League.

apa/mn/sdh-bp

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