Disappointing end in Israel
The Three Lions finish Euro 2013 campaign with a 1-0 defeat to the host nation
England ended their Euro 2013 Finals campaign in misery after defeat in Jerusalem to hosts Israel.
Ofir Krieff’s 80th-minute strike ensured the Three Lions go home without a point and finish bottom of the group.
After defeats to Italy and Norway in the opening two fixtures had sent them crashing out of the competition early, Stuart Pearce’s side were hoping to go out with a victory and restore some pride.
But they were unable to make the most of their possession, and attempts at goal, as Israel grabbed a late victory to delight the home fans.
In the pre-match press conference Pearce suggested that he’d play a young side, with the next qualification campaign in mind. And he was true to his word, naming Liverpool’s Andre Wisdom as captain, alongside six other players who can go again next time around.
Of the other three young enough to join the Under-21s for Euro 2015 qualifying, Jack Butland was rested in place of Jason Steele, Nathan Redmond was on the bench and Jack Robinson missed out through injury.
However, it was the home side who looked the more inventive in the opening stages as Pearce’s men lost their way in the final third.
Wilf Zaha was finding things difficult, often seeing possession taken from him. But it was his wing play on the half hour mark that finally provided England with their first real chance after Jason Steele had twice been called into action at the other end.
The Manchester United new boy glided past Ofer Verta before squaring to Connor Wickham. His first-time lay-off was for Danny Rose six yards out, but he skewed well wide.
The Three Lions came closer moments later when Zaha again was the instigator. This time his central run and pass into the box picked out Tom Ince who tried to clip over Boris Kleyman. The Israel stopper got in a block, but the ball carried back to Zaha who headed goalwards first time. Again, Kleyman was on hand to deny.
Pearce’s side were now enjoying much more of the ball, but Israel’s compact defence made it difficult for Wickham, Zaha and Ince to penetrate when they each had the ball in dangerous areas.
Jordan Henderson came into the fray at half-time as Ince made way, and with five minutes played of the second period, Wickham nearly put England in the lead.
Wisdom’s powerful run forward caught Israel off guard as he passed to the Sunderland striker. Wickham cut in and aimed a curling effort for Kleyman’s top corner, and he was unlucky to see it go the wrong side of the post.
England were finding some joy in the middle channel whenever Josh McEachran got on the ball. But despite intricate passing around Israeli defenders as they worked it into the area, there was always one too many opponents remaining.
Israel, spurred on by their vocal home support, were intent on winning the game themselves, which would mean there would still be a remote chance of reaching the semi-finals, depending on the result between Norway and Italy. Captain Nir Bitton rattled the bar with a thunderous drive from 25 yards before and Ofer Verta’s strike flashed past the post.
Teddy Stadium then erupted with ten minutes left when Krieff punished England for a host of wasted opportunities. He finished off a neat Israel move on the edge of the area, smashing past Steele.
Though the goal wasn’t enough to see Israel progress after Norway and Italy drew, it did consign England to a third straight defeat at the Finals.
Even a late effort from Nathan Redmond couldn’t snatch a draw and they head home devastated.