England U20s secured their place in Sunday’s third-fourth place play-off game in the Toulon Tournament after a 1-1 draw with Colombia.
The Three Lions knew coming into the game that a point would be enough to see them finish second in Group B due to their superior goal difference over South Korea.
But Gareth Southgate’s side wanted to finish the group stage with a win and led for the majority of the game, played out in windy conditions and on a bobbly pitch which made it tricky for either side to exert any real control of the game.
England 1-1 Colombia
The Toulon Tournament
4.15pm, Friday 30 May 2014
Stade Leo Lagrange, Toulon
That led to an often scrappy contest, which neither side could claim to deserve victory from but the result is enough for England to extend their stay in the south of France and an extra match when they face Portugal in Avignon.
England made the brighter start, playing into the wind and it was no real surprise when Cauley Woodrow opened the scoring once again.
A ball forward from Jordan Cousins caused confusion in the Colombian defence, which presented the Fulham striker with a wonderful opportunity, as a half-clearance from Aldayr Hernandez hit the back of Daniel Londono to bounce kindly for Woodrow. He didn’t need a second invitation, and finished neatly from inside the box.
Jordan Obita then came close to doubling the lead after 23 minutes when his cross from the left was lifted by the wind and towards goal, but Colombia’s giant ‘keeper Alvaro Montero got back to palm it over the bar.
Colombia were saved by Andres Tello soon after, when Solly March’s corner was met by the head of Ben Gibson but the full-back was well placed to clear on the post.
Unfortunately for England, Southgate was forced into two substitutions in the first half as both Josh McEachran and Eric Dier limped off after picking up knocks, with Jake Forster-Caskey and Michael Keane replacing them.
Colombia’s main threat came from set plays, with Jhoao Rodriguez striking narrowly wide towards the end of the first half and then five minutes after the restart, Jjoan Ayala headed over from close range after meeting Rafael Borre’s cross from the right.
A rare second-half opening arrived just shy of the hour mark, when Forster-Caskey placed a pass in behind for his Brighton & Hove Albion team-mate March, whose right-footer was saved by Montero.
March then turned provider, cutting back on the touchline before crossing for Obita at the far post only for his shot to be blocked on the line by Montero.
But Colombia were worthy of their goal when it arrived in the 69th minute, as a low cross from the right was met by Jhoao Rodriguez from seven yards and his shot crept past Butland to give them renewed hope of ended the Tournament with a victory.
It wasn’t to be, though, as England were able to see the game out and ensure they’ll be about for Sunday’s showpiece games.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Jack Butland (Stoke City); 15 Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon), 5 Liam Moore (Leicester City), 16 Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), 2 Tyias Browning (Everton); 10 Josh McEachran (Chelsea), 17 Jordan Cousins (Charlton Athletic); 18 Solly March (Brighton & Hove Albion), 20 Will Keane (Manchester United), 7 Jordan Obita (Reading); 19 Cauley Woodrow (Fulham).
Substitutes: 14 Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion) for McEachran 19, 6 Michael Keane (Manchester United) for Dier (32), 11 Nathan Redmond (Norwich City) for Woodrow 67, 4 Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea) for Keane 74
Substitutes not used: 13 Jonathan Bond (Watford), 3 Luke Garbutt (Everton), 8 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), 9 Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion), 12 Brad Smith (Liverpool).
Head Coach: Gareth Southgate
Goals: Cauley Woodrow (15)
Cautions: 15 Eric Dier (32), Solly March (68)
Colombia (4-3-3): 12 Alvaro Montero (Sao Caetano); 6 Andres Tello (Envigado), 5 Juan Quintero (Deportivo Cali), 2 Aldayr Hernandez (Bogota), 4 Daniel Londono (Envigado); 17 Carlos Renteria (Deportivo Cali), 14 Jhoan Ayala (La Equidad), 11 Gustavo Torres (Deportes Quindio); 19 Dario Rodriguez (Santa Fe), 9 Jhoao Rodriguez (Univ Autonoma), 20 Rafael Borre (Deportivo Cali)
Substitutes: 18 Juan Mosquera (Envigado FC) for Renteria 54, 15 Rodin Quinones (Athletic Nacional) for D Rodriguez 57, 16 Jarlan Barrera (Junior) for Borre 70
Substitutes not used: 1 Luis Vazquez (Ind. Medellin), 3 Jeison Angulo (Deportivo Cali), 8 Alexis Zapata (Envigado), 21 Luis Orejuela (Deportivo Cali), 13 Davinson Sanchez (Athletic Nacional), 7 Cristian Arango (Envigado)
Goals: Jhoao Rodriguez (69)
Cautions: 11 Gustavo Torres (26), 5 Juan Quintero (41), 9 Jhoao Rodriguez (75)
Manager: Carlos Restrepo
Referee: Penaloza Soto (Mexico)