England vs Czech Republic: Three ways Gareth Southgate could line up to top Group D

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Gareth Southgate in England training

England's qualification for the last-16 of Euro 2020 was confirmed on Monday evening but they will have the opportunity to secure top spot in their final Group D clash with Czech Republic on Tuesday. 

Gareth Southgate was heavily criticised for his approach to England's drab 0-0 draw with Scotland last week, but his pragmatism has been somewhat vindicated by securing qualification with one game left to spare. 

A win over the Czech Republic will see England top the group and face the runners up of Group F, which would most likely pit them against one of the best teams in the competition. 

Portugal, France and Germany could all yet emerge from the Group of Death in second place, lending reason to believe that England may be reluctant to go gung-ho in search of three points tonight. 

However, the importance of momentum in international competitions cannot be underestimated and, particularly following the outpour of frustration in light of the bore draw with Scotland, Southgate will surely be aiming to clinch a morale-boosting win ahead of the knockout phase. 

But who will he pick in his starting XI for the final game?

Will he use it as an opportunity to experiment and give some of the fringe players some much needed game time? Will he finally listen to the calls of the British public and release Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham from the outset? 

The answers to the aforementioned questions will reveal themselves closer to kick off, but here at GIVEMESPORT we've selected three potential XIs Southgate could deploy which we believe are strong enough to top the group with a win tonight. 

There are, of course, the absences of Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell to consider after it was confirmed that the Chelsea duo are in self isolation until Monday following their close contact with Billy Gilmour, who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Let's take a look at the three lineups below...

Lineup 1: All-out attack


Starting XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Phillips, Grealish Foden; Sancho, Rashford; Kane

If there's one thing England have been sorely missing thus far at Euro 2020, then it's creativity in the final-third. 

England have been stoic and resolute in defence, owing much to the diligence of Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips in the double pivot. 

But Southgate is blessed with a wealth of sublime forwards in what is undoubtedly a golden era in the attacking department. So why not utilise the tools at your disposal? 

In this lineup we've tried to incorporate as many attacking players as possible, including Foden and Grealish in a three-man midfield anchored by Phillips in a familiar quarter-back role which he's made his own at Leeds United. 

Marcus Rashford starts in an inside forward position on the left, while Sancho's bizarre exile from the team comes to an end with a start on the right side of the attacking trio. 

Lineup 2: Experimental 


Starting XI: Pickford; Walker, White, Maguire, Saka; Henderson, Bellingham, Grealish; Sancho, Rashford; Calvert-Lewin

With qualification secured it would be a smart idea to ring the changes and utilise the squad depth ahead of the knockout phase. 

It's an ideal time for players to get to grips with the pace of the tournament without the added pressure that the latter stages produce. 

With the exception of Jordan Pickford and Kyle Walker, everyone in this XI would be making their first start of the competition.

The experiment not only gives senior stars Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson some vital match fitness, it also allows Marcus Rashford, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sancho a chance to build a case for selection to Southgate. 

However, it seems unlikely Calvert-Lewin will get his chance after Southgate confirmed Kane will start tonight, though that was before qualification was guaranteed.

Meanwhile, it will be intriguing to see how the balance in midfield works with Grealish and Bellingham linking up in front of Henderson in the anchor role. 

Lineup 3: Southgate's best XI


Starting XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice; Sancho, Grealish, Foden; Kane

Finally, if Southgate opts to go with his strongest XI and build the chemistry ahead of the challenge that awaits next week, this is who we think he should select.

Granted, Henderson is short of match fitness but he is an experienced figurehead within the squad with the ability to dictate the tempo from central midfield. As good as Phillips has been, there has been a missing link in England's build-up play that could be resolved with Henderson's inclusion. 

Grealish is the most natural replacement for Mount in the number ten spot while Foden gets the nod over Sterling on the left hand side due to his sensational form with Man City in that role. 

The absent Sancho starts on the right to give England the dynamism and directness they've been craving at Euro 2020, and Luke Shaw and Kyle Walker earn selection in the hotly contested full-back positions. 

Who would you select tonight if you were in the England hotseat? 

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