England qualified for the last 16 of UEFA Euro 2016 as Group B runners-up as they could only earn a 0-0 draw against Slovakia despite near-total dominance of the Stade Geoffroy Guichard clash in Saint-Etienne, France, on Monday.
With Wales beating Russia 3-0 in the group's other clash, the Three Lions needed to win to top the standings and in theory face an easier opponent in the first knockout round.
However, despite Jamie Vardy, Adam Lallana, Dele Alli, Nathaniel Clyne and Daniel Sturridge all having decent chances during the 90 minutes, England could not bag the crucial goal, and Slovakia were staunch enough in defence to enhance their chances of making the last 16 as one of the best third-placed sides.
UEFA Euro 2016 provided both lineups ahead of kick-off:
Fans met England manager Roy Hodgson's decision to make six changes from the starting XI he fielded in the first two group games with a mixed reaction, per football writer Philippe Auclair:
The Three Lions started much the brighter, Vardy steering an effort over the bar in the fifth minute after good work down the right from Clyne before the Leicester City striker set up a Sturridge chance that was blocked in the box.
In the 17th minute, the impressive Jordan Henderson released Vardy beyond the Slovakia defence, but goalkeeper Matus Kozacik saved his first-time effort well, per the Mail on Sunday's Oliver Holt:
Another Vardy break drew a cynical foul from Viktor Pecovsky—for which the official issued a deserved yellow card—and Lallana forced another save from Kozacik in the 33rd minute with a right-footed effort from inside the box.
The Liverpool winger should arguably have done better after club team-mate Clyne picked him out from the right, via ITV Football:
Slovakia barely made an impact in England's half, star man Marek Hamsik starved of the ball and having little influence in the game, but they managed to hold out until half-time without going behind.
They showed more adventure after the break and earned a free-kick in a dangerous position on the right after Ryan Bertrand received a yellow card seven minutes into the second half.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart calmly punched away a decent delivery into the box but was almost the victim of a Chris Smalling clanger when the ball was returned to the penalty area moments later and the Manchester United centre-back chested the delivery dangerously into space.
A minute later at the other end of the pitch, Clyne forced Kozacik into another decent save at his near post, but the nerves were jangling for England despite their first-half dominance, per Paddy Power:
Before the hour, Hodgson opted to throw skipper Wayne Rooney on for Jack Wilshere and Alli for Adam Lallana, and the Tottenham Hotspur man almost had an immediate impact as he forced a goal-line clearance from Martin Skrtel after latching on to Henderson's cross.
England reasserted their dominance with wave after wave of forays forward, but they could not find the killer blow as the clock ticked past the 75-minute mark, per BBC Sport's Phil McNulty:
Hodgson made his final change, putting Harry Kane on in place of Sturridge as England looked for the winner in the final 10 minutes.
They continued to have all the possession and all the territory, but England could not deliver, and Skrtel and his team-mates impressively dealt with numerous crosses into the box.
The England-dominated crowd greeted the final whistle with disappointed groans, and Hodgson's side now face a meeting with Group F's runners-up in Nice next Monday.
The England manager bemoaned Slovakia setting up "with 11 men in defence" but said he is "not frightened of anyone" in the last 16 given the way his side are playing, per ITV Football:
Meanwhile, Slovakia manager Jan Kozak said that "England are better than Wales" despite Chris Coleman's side having topped Group B in the end, per the Independent's Ian Herbert.