LONDON — At least England now knows it can rely on Raheem Sterling for goals.
The scoring touch missing at his last three tournaments has been rediscovered on home territory, and it gave his team first place in its group.
Sterling scored his second goal at Euro 2020 on Tuesday to secure a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium. Both teams had already qualified for the round of 16.
The header at the far-post from Jack Grealish’s cross in the 12th minute moved England onto a path where its only game away from Wembley will be a potential quarterfinal match in Rome.
Home comforts should certainly help Sterling, who grew up in the shadow of the Wembley arch and is proving to be England’s game-changer.
How unlike the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, and Euro 2016, when Sterling was unable to find the net. This time, it was his goal that also clinched the opening win over Croatia.
The Manchester City player is stepping up as 2018 World Cup Golden Boot winner Harry Kane endures a barren run in front of goal.
Kane at least managed his first shot on target of Euro 2020 against the Czechs after failing to do so against Croatia and in the 0-0 draw with Scotland.
Beyond Sterling’s goal, there wasn’t much for the pandemic-restricted crowd of about 20,000 to celebrate. What did get them cheering were goal updates being flashed on the big screens as Scotland lost to Croatia 3-1 and was eliminated as the last-place team.
The goals in Glasgow had big implications for the Czechs, who dropped from first place to third and are uncertain about where their last-16 game will be.
England will host the runner-up from Group F on Tuesday. That opponent could be World Cup champion France, defending champion Portugal, Germany or Hungary.