England sealed their spot at next summer’s U21 Euro Finals on Thursday night, with a 7-0 victory over Andorra in Chesterfield.
The Young Lions came into the game knowing that even a point would’ve been enough to secure a place at the Finals, which take place in Italy and San Marino next June.
- UEFA European U21 Championship
- Thursday 11 October
- Proact Stadium, Chesterfield FC
- Live on BT Sport
And they more than made sure of their qualification with a game to spare, as an emphatic performance and goals from Ade Lookman, Ezri Konsa, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (2), Dominic Solanke, Reiss Nelson and a late own goal put Andorra to the sword.
Boss Aidy Boothroyd had told his squad in the build-up that they just had to focus on their own performance at the Proact Stadium before anything else and it took less than ten minutes to get themselves up and running.
It was a goal made in Goodison Park too, as Everton’s Tom Davies picked out his onrushing Toffees team-mate Jonjoe Kenny with an incisive pass, before the ball was cut back to Lookman in the area. He took a touch to control, before casually side-stepping his marker and planting a low left-footer into the bottom corner.
The Andorran keeper Francisco Pires was having a busy night, with saves to deny Phil Foden, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Lookman again.
But he was beaten again in the 27th minute when he could only parry Lewis Cook’s thumping shot out as far as Konsa, and the Brentford defender made no mistake by finishing well from the angle with his left foot.
England’s third goal arrived in first-half stoppage time, when Pires dropped the ball at the feet of Lookman, who squared the ball to another Everton team-mate Calvert-Lewin who was left with the simple task of tapping home into an empty goal.
Calvert-Lewin added his second of the night from the penalty spot three minutes into the second half, after Konsa had been clumsily fouled in the box by Claudie Bove.
Boothroyd made changes for the latter stages and debutant Nelson almost made an instant impact after breaking through on goal and seeing his low shot bounce back off the post.
His fellow replacement Solanke made no mistake in the 81st minute, when Nelson’s cute turn and pass sent him clear into the box where he rounded Pires to score.
There was almost a first U21s goal for Ryan Sessegnon in stoppage time too, as Foden’s teasing cross picked him out at the far post only for the Fulham man to guide his header over.
England still weren’t finished though, as Nelson got the debut goal he’d been threatening as he delicately flicked the ball past Pires to make it six.
And the 18-year-old's cross then forced Andorra’s Christian Garcia to turn the ball into his own goal ahead of the lurking Solanke.
With qualification now confirmed, the Young Lions squad will now head north of the border for their final game of the campaign against Scotland at Tynecastle on Tuesday.
England U21s: 1 Dean Henderson (Sheffield United, loan from Manchester United), 2 Jonjoe Kenny (Everton), 18 Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham Hotspur), 4 Lewis Cook (AFC Bournemouth) (C), 5 Dael Fry (Middlesbrough), 6 Ezri Konsa (Brentford), 7 Ademola Lookman (Everton), 8 Tom Davies (Everton), 9 Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), 10 Phil Foden (Manchester City), 11 Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham).
Substitutes: 19 Reiss Nelson (Hoffenheim, loan from Arsenal) for Lookman 72, 20 Dominic Solanke (Liverpool) for Calvert-Lewin 73, 3 Jay Dalsilva (Bristol City, loan from Chelsea) for Kenny 73
Substitutes not used: 13 Angus Gunn (Southampton), 14 Josh Onomah (Sheffield Wednesday, loan from Tottenham Hotspur), 15 Jake Clarke-Salter (Vitesse Arnhem, loan from Chelsea), 23 Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa, loan from Chelsea)
Head coach: Aidy Boothroyd
Goals: Ademola Lookman 8, Ezri Konsa 27, Dominic Calvert-Lewin 45, 48 (p), Dominic Solanke 81, Reiss Nelson 90+2, Christian Garcia OG 90+4
Cautions: Dominic Calvert-Lewin 23, Lewis Cook 73