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Denmark 1-1 England: Harry Kane admits his side not sure how to press after another poor Euro 2024 showing

England drew 1-1 against Denmark in the second game of Group B at Euro 2024; Morten Hjulmand cancelled out Harry Kane's opener; England have been dropping deeper in their two group stage games so far; Gareth Southgate says he understands why England fans will be frustrated

John Stones and Declan Rice
Image: England have struggled when sitting deeper against opponents in the group stages of Euro 2024

Harry Kane has admitted that England are not sure how to press when opponents start dropping deeper after two lacklustre showings at Euro 2024.

One of the many criticisms of England is playing too deep, especially out of possession, and therefore being unable to play out from the back.

It is a tactic rarely seen under Southgate in group stage games, but has been a key feature of both the win against Serbia and Thursday's draw against Denmark.

When asked about it after the game, Kane told BBC Sport: "It's something we've got to try to get better at, not just when we score.

"We're starting games well, but when the opponents are dropping a few players deeper we're not quite sure how to get the pressure on and who's supposed to be going.

"In the second half we tried to change it with me and Jude [Bellingham] playing in front of their two midfielders and trying to get up - but it was difficult.

"Credit to Denmark, they're a good side and got to the semi-finals in the last Euros. Overall, we've got to look back and see where we can improve."

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Kaveh Solhekol feels England were lucky not to lose their match against Denmark, adding that Trent Alexander-Arnold struggled in his midfield role which could see the end of that particular 'experiment' from Gareth Southgate

Kane went on to acknowledge that England are also shaky in possession at times too, adding: "We're struggling with and without the ball.

"We'll have to go away and look at it back, but the pressure hasn't been quite right in both games, and we haven't been good enough with the ball top to bottom, that's me all the way back to [Jordan] Pickford.

"We're dropping below our level in terms of retaining the ball and playing under pressure.

"We know we can improve. There'll be a lot of noise, a bit of disappointment back home, but we experienced this when we drew to Scotland in the last Euros. The sign of a good team is to find results when you're not playing your best."

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Rob Dorsett delivers his verdict on England's 1-1 draw with Denmark and believes there are real concerns for Gareth Southgate after another underwhelming performance at Euro 2024.

Southgate: It wasn't what we hoped for

For Southgate's part, he understood why fans would be frustrated with performances in the opening two games, and added that his team must find another level.

He told BBC Sport: "Clearly it wasn't what we would've hoped. We're not using the ball well enough and have to accept if you do that you're going to suffer at times as we have tonight. We know there's another level we're going to have to find.

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Reacting to England's 1-1 draw with Denmark, Gareth Southgate said he and his players have to accept criticism from the fans for underperforming, and admitted that he can understand their frustration

"We've played teams who are quite fluid in back threes, it's not easy to get pressure on them, but we've definitely got to do it better than we have in these two matches.

"That's been part of the problem, but not keeping the ball has also been a big part of the problem."

"There's a huge amount of work, that's evident from the performances we've given. We have to stay tight, we understand people will be disappointed with the performances - and rightly so. We've got to make them better."

Analysis: Why are England dropping so deep?

England's Harry Kane, left, substitutes out for England's Ollie Watkins during a Group C match between Denmark and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Image: Harry Kane was replaced by Ollie Watkins in the second half against Denmark

Sky Sports' Nick Wright:

The result was different but there were obvious parallels with the Serbia game. Once again, a bright start was rewarded with an early goal. Once again, it was followed by the team ceding the initiative and sinking deeper and deeper into their own half.

This tendency to invite pressure is not new. It has been a curious feature of Gareth Southgate's tenure. But mostly it has occurred in knockout games against the big nations. Not in group-stage fixtures against sides sitting outside the top 20 in the FIFA rankings.

It is baffling that a group of players as good as this, a group regarded as favourites to win the tournament, can end up playing like an underdog in games such as these but that is the reality of what they served up, first against Serbia and now against Denmark.

Denmark responded brightly to going behind in the first half
Image: Denmark's Morten Hjulmand scored a superb equaliser

Of course, that is not to say these are easy fixtures. Tournament football can be unforgiving. But the Denmark game was just the latest in which England have invited problems by inviting pressure. It led to Denmark's leveller and it could have been worse.

The statistics were alarming. Denmark, in addition to outshooting England, made slightly more passes and had slightly more of the ball. But consider, too, where they had it compared to England. Denmark had 22 touches in the opposition box to England's 11. They made 142 passes in the final third to England's 97.

It is not as though England lack the personnel to play higher up the pitch. In Kyle Walker and the excellent Marc Guehi, they have quick defenders able to sweep up behind a high line. In midfield and attack, they have players drilled to play in exactly that way for their clubs.

Why, then, does the same issue keep resurfacing? A degree of pragmatism is understandable at a tournament. But England are causing themselves unnecessary problems.

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