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England U19s 1-0 Czech Republic

Young Lions leave it late, as Lukas Nmecha seals U19 Euro Final spot

Wednesday 12 Jul 2017

Super-sub Lukas Nmecha’s injury-time winner sent England into the final of the UEFA U19 European Championship at the expense of Czech Republic.

With only seconds to spare, the Manchester City striker cleverly flicked home Marcus Edwards’ pass from the right to spark jubilation for the Young Lions in Tbilisi.

England 1-0 Czech Republic
  • UEFA European U19 Championship Finals
  • Semi-Final
  • Wednesday 12 July 2017
  • Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, Tbilisi
  • Live on Eurosport

The late strike – coming at the end of three allotted minutes – sets up a final against Portugal, who beat the Netherlands 1-0 earlier in the day, on Saturday.

It will be England’s first appearance in the final of this tournament since 2009, when they lost out 2-0 to the Ukraine in Donetsk.

Nmecha, who had entered the fray on the hour mark, had made up for an missing a glorious just three minutes earlier as England looked destined for extra time and a potential penalty shoot-out.

The possession statistic at the break – 50%-50% - told the story of a tight first-half for the Young Lions against a well-drilled Czech side on a balmy evening at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium.

Dujon Sterling, playing in a more advanced role, watched his effort land on the roof of the net early on, but England struggled to make a breakthrough after that.

Jay Dasilva had the best chance of the half in the 39th minute. While their opponents probed at the other end with little joy, the England skipper hit a thunderous low drive from the left that struck the base of the far post.

As the game started to open up after the break, Ryan Sessegnon had the ball in the net in the 69th minute when Mason Mount’s free-kick was kept alive in the box by Sterling but his through-ball found the Fulham man in an offside position as he tapped home.

But this was far from one way traffic with Czech Republic proving a constant threat and Aaron Ramsdale was called into action twice to make a series of fine saves. The first was to tip over Ondrej Sasinka’s powerful header at his near post before the AFC Bournemouth man got down to palm away a deflected drive from Daniel Turyna that was dangerously squirming towards his bottom right-hand corner.

The floppy-haired Alex Kral then had two bites of the cherry from a corner with time running out, but Easah Sulliman blocked the defender’s first shot with the second going just wide.

Nmecha should have put the game to bed in the 90th minute. Fellow sub Isaac Buckley-Ricketts’ cross from the right fell perfectly for the striker two yards out – only for his header to sail over.

However, he made no mistake with the next chance as Spurs star Edwards, a 69th minute sub, produced a dazzling run down the right to carve open the space to tee up Nmecha, who back-heeled home with aplomb from close range.

England: 1 Aaron Ramsdale (AFC Bournemouth), 2 Dujon Sterling (Chelsea), 3 Jay Dasilva © (Chelsea), 4 Tayo Edun (Fulham), 6 Easah Suliman (Aston Villa), 9 Ben Brereton (Nottingham Forest) 10 Mason Mount (Chelsea), 11 Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), 16 Darnell Johnson (Leicester City), 17 Jacob Maddox (Chelsea), 18 Reece James (Chelsea).

Substitutes: 12 Lukas Nmecha (Manchester City) for Brereton 60, 14 Marcus Edwards (Tottenham Hotspur) for Maddox 69, 7 Isaac Buckley-Ricketts (Manchester City) for James 83.

Substitutes not used: 8 Andre Dozzell (Ipswich Town), 13 Nathan Trott (West Ham United), 15 Josh Dasilva (Arsenal).

Goals: Nmecha 90+3

Head coach: Keith Downing.

By Andy Walker Senior Communications Manager in Tbilisi, Georgia