The fact that both goals from the visitors, courtesy of Kadin Chung and Marcos Bustos, were brilliant finishes will be of little consolation for the Keith Downing and his Young Lions.
England U20s 1-2 Canada U20s
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
4pm Sunday 27 March
Kasey Palmer gave them hope of a comeback late on, and despite Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford’s best efforts, the Canadians proved a tough nut to crack at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Rashford received the biggest cheer as the teams were read out, but if the 3,264 in attendance thought they were coming to watch a showcase of finishing from the hotshot, they were in for a shock as they rose to their feet to applaud the stunning opener from the visitors on 13 minutes.
Full-back Kadin Chung was allowed to drift inside from the left, and as the Young Lions defence backed off, he powered an unstoppable drive from 25 yards past Angus Gunn.
Winger Tyler Walker, son of former England defender Des, almost produced an equally impressive strike to equalise, but the Nottingham Forest youngster’s effort from distance whizzed inches wide.
Rashord then latched onto a through-ball, holding off the challenge of two defenders down the right of the area before shooting low across goal, the keeper getting down well to deny him.
Downing’s side were well in command as Walker fired wide from close-range after meeting Joe Williams’ low centre from the right and Ola Aina’s shot was saved, but they went in behind at the break.
They began the second period on top again as Rashford’s pull back for Rees Greenwood was blazed over the bar by the Sunderland youngster.
For all their possession, England were rarely threatening Pantemis’s net and they suffered a sucker punch on 68 minutes as they slipped further behind when Marco Bustos swept home left-footed from the edge of the area.
Two minutes later, however, Rashford helped to get the Young Lions back into the contest as he pulled the ball back from the right of the area for Palmer to rifle home – but it was too little too late for England.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Angus Gunn (Manchester City); 2 Ola Aina (Chelsea), 5 Jake Cooper (Reading), 6 Mason Holgate (Everton), 3 Harry Toffolo (Norwich City); 8 Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur, captain), 4 Joe Williams (Everton); 7 Tyler Walker (Nottingham Forest – on loan at Burton Albion), Brandon Barker (Manchester City – on loan at Rotherham United), 11 Rees Greenwood (Sunderland); Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Substitutes: 12 Kasey Palmer (Chelsea) for Walker 46; 14 Kean Bryan (Manchester City) for Aina 58; 15 Ashley Fletcher (Manchester United) for Barker 69; 16 Bryn Morris (Walsall, on-loan from Middlesbrough) for Williams 80
Unused substitute: 13 Ted Smith (Southend)
Goal: Palmer 71
Head coach: Keith Downing
Canada (4-2-3-1): 18 James Pantemis; 2 Marcus Godinho, 5 Fikayo Tomori (Captain), 4 Thomas Meilleur-Gigeuere, 3 Kadin Chung; 8 Alphonso Davies, 7 Shamit Shome; 10 Marco Bustos, 11 Ballou Tabla, 17 Duwayne Ewart; 25 Dario Zanatta
Substitutes: 12 Gabriel Boakye for Davies 65; 9 Jordan Hamilton for Ewart 74; 21 Marco Dominguez for Tabla 90
Unused substitutes: 1 Marco Carducci, 24 Kosovar Sadiki, 6 Liam Fraser, 19 Marko Aleski, 14 Josh Doughty
Goals: Chung 13; Bustos 68
Head coach: Rob Gale