A last minute own goal gave England the worst possible start going in the European U21 Championships last night. The Three Lions were the favourites going into the competition but now have a mountain to climb to get to the final.
They lined up with a very strong side. Seven Premier League players were in the England line up, which included Wan-Bissaka, Maddison, Foden, Choudhury, Grey, Solanke and Sessegnon. The rest of the team was made up of first-team players from the Championship, all of which had good seasons.
Frances team had no players from the Premier League present. Reine-Adelaide formally of Arsenal played as well as Dembele who was at Celtic and Fulham before going to Lyon. The rest of the starting XI were players from the French and German league.
England U21 vs France U21
England started off fantastically creating two good chances. Unfortunately, though they couldn’t make this good start and missed two good chances through Solanke and Grey. Many wondered as to why Calvert-Lewin or Abraham didn’t start over Solanke as they had played far more this season.
France grew into the game and was awarded a very controversial penalty. However, it didn’t matter as Henderson, who spent last year on loan at Sheffield United from Man United, saved Dembele’s effort.
The Three Lions carried on being the better side out of the two and made it count early into the second half. Man City youngster Phil Foden picked up the ball 40 yards out and ran for goal. He took on six players along the way and calmly passed the ball into the bottom right corner.
France though came back at England and was awarded another penalty. Hamza Choudhury giving it away and receiving a red card after a VAR check changed it from the initial yellow. But once again France missed and it felt like it would be Englands night.
But luck eventually runs out and France equalised in the 89th minute through Ikone. A great finish from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner. A draw would have probably been a fair result but it didn’t finish that way. A ball into the box on the 94th minute fell to Wan-Bissaka. The full-back tried to clear it but turned it into his own net.
The England players looked devasted as the full-time whistle went, knowing this should have been three points.
Foden’s goal from this angle is EVEN better 👏pic.twitter.com/p0dwWGkwy2
— Football Whispers (@FB_WHISPERS) 19 June 2019
England has now dropped to 8/1 on Bet365 to win the competition for the third time. Italy are the favourites at 5/2, with France priced just behind them at 3/1.
England now has to go and beat Romania and Croatia and even finish top of the group of finish as the best place runner up to reach the semi-finals. They currently sit third in their group, Croatia are just below them due to a worse goal difference.
It is going to be tough but England definitely has the ability in the squad to do it. They just need to start taking their chances and stop giving the ball away!