FRANKFURT, June 21 — England’s second underwhelming performance at Euro 2024 had pundits and fans collectively wondering what is wrong with the team, as many fear the pre-tournament favourites could be heading home sooner rather than later.

Gareth Southgate’s side have one foot in the knockout stage as they top Group C with four points. However, it was the lack of fluidity in their 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday and the unwillingness to press that had fans booing them off the pitch.

Former England striker Alan Shearer called it a “very poor” performance.

“I didn’t think England were under too much pressure coming into Euro 2024, but they are about to really feel it now,” Shearer said. “England were booed off after, and the crowd were gone within a minute of the game ending, so that tells you the mood of the fans.”


Angry England fans beat a hasty exit from the Frankfurt Arena while the delighted Danes were still cheering and dancing in the stands long after the final whistle.

“I don’t know if they are being told to play like this,” former England defender Micah Richards said. “They are lethargic — they need more energy and need to be more aggressive. We are constantly inviting pressure.”

In the first half only Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka regularly ventured into the opposition’s half, while many of the Danes virtually set up camp in England’s.


Pundits questioned why players who press freely for clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester City were sitting so deep.

“The current balance of the team is not allowing the players to reach the levels that they have done for clubs,” former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand said. “It is baffling and concerning.”

England fans were uniformly critical on social media.

“Southgate is struggling because all he knows is underdog football which is why England play like they are in a League Two relegation battle despite having the best squad in the tournament,” one posted on X.

“Painful, slow, expressionless with no fluid football,” said another.

Another wrote: “We play to not lose rather than to win.”

The ragged performance was reminiscent of many England games over the years. However, Shearer pointed out that the last time the Three Lions drew their second game at a Euros, a scoreless draw with Scotland three years ago, they went on to reach the final, losing to Italy in a penalty shootout.

“But to ensure a repeat, Southgate has many questions to answer,” he said.

One of those is whether Southgate persists with his “experiment” of playing Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield. The Liverpool defender was replaced after 53 minutes by Conor Gallagher.

“There’s an imbalance in the team, square pegs in round holes,” former England and Manchester United right back Gary Neville said.

“Because of that, you start to drop deep as a protective measure because you feel like you are not comfortable. You end up giving the ball away and we look like a mess.

“We know how this ends. (Southgate) has to change something now.”

England face Slovenia, who have two draws, on Tuesday in their final group game while Denmark take on Serbia. Even a third-placed finish could put Southgate’s squad through to the knockout round. — Reuters