Men's Under 21s
Men's Under 21s
The FA

England U21s 3-0 Poland

Young Lions storm into U21 Euro semi-finals

Thursday 22 Jun 2017

England sealed their spot in the Under-21 Euro semi-final after a stylish victory over host nation Poland.

The Young Lions went into the game knowing that a win would be enough to see them top their group and automatically qualify for the last four.

And Aidy Boothroyd’s side made no mistake as an early goal from Demarai Gray, on his first start in the competition, settled the nerves before substitute Jacob Murphy and Lewis Baker killed the game with crucial second-half strikes.

England 3-0 Poland
  • European Under-21 Championship
  • Group A
  • Thursday 22 June 2017
  • Kielce, Poland

It could have been more emphatic too, with England enjoying the better of the opportunities and possession throughout in front of a passionate and vocal home support.

The win means England will now travel to their new base in Krakow to prepare for Tuesday’s semi-final, against the runners-up of either Group B or C, dependent on their results on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Boothroyd had warned his players of a strong start from Poland, who had scored early goals in both of their previous games.

But it was his team who were on the front foot from the off, with England enjoying an early spell of pressure and forcing three successive corners, with both James Ward-Prowse and Baker having attempts saved and cleared off the line, before Alfie Mawson glanced a header just wide at the third attempt.

But the Young Lions did not have to wait long, as a superb pass from Jordan Pickford’s goal-kick picked out Ben Chilwell on the left and when he controlled superbly before picking out Gray, the Leicester City man picked out the far corner with aplomb to put his side ahead.

It could have been 2-0 just after the half-hour mark, but Poland keeper Jakub Wrabel made two good saves to deny headers from Nathaniel Chalobah and Mawson as England looked to take a greater grip on the contest.

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That proved to be one of Chalobah’s last acts, as he limped off shortly afterwards to be replaced by Will Hughes.

Boothroyd made another change at the break with Murphy on for Nathan Redmond and England had to withstand an early press from Poland, as they looked to find a way back into the game.

But it was England who continued to create the better chances, with a Ward-Prowse free-kick just inches above the head of Mawson before John Swift could only guide it wide at the far post.

The crucial second goal finally arrived in the 69th minute, as the Young Lions hit their hosts with a clinical counter attack when a Calum Chambers’ clearance fell to Baker, who turned a pass into Gray’s path on the left. He rolled the ball across the box to the far post, where Murphy tucked home to partially silence the home crowd and leave the semi-finals in sight.

The win was sealed in the 82nd minute when substitute Tammy Abraham was tripped in the box by Jan Bednarek, who was then sent off for his second caution, before Baker made no mistake from the spot to complete a good night for the Young Lions.

England: 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton); 2 Mason Holgate (Everton), 5 Calum Chambers (Arsenal), 23 Alfie Mawson (Swansea City), 3 Ben Chilwell (Leicester City); 4 Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea), 10 Lewis Baker (Chelsea); 8 James Ward-Prowse (Capt; Southampton), 15 John Swift (Reading), 11 Nathan Redmond (Southampton); 7 Demarai Gray (Leicester City)

Substitutes: 19 Will Hughes (Derby County) for Chalobah 39, 14 Jacob Murphy (Norwich City) for Redmond 46, 9 Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) for Ward-Prowse 73

Substitutes not used: 6 Jack Stephens (Southampton), 12 Matt Targett (Southampton), 13 Angus Gunn (Norwich City, loan from Manchester City), 16 Rob Holding (Arsenal), 17 Kortney Hause (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 18 Dominic Iorfa (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 20 Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), 21 Jonathan Mitchell (Derby County), 22 Cauley Woodrow (Fulham)

Head coach: Aidy Boothroyd

Goals: Gray 7, Murphy 69, Baker 82 (pen)

Yellow cards: Mawson 65

Poland: 12 Jakub Wrabel; 4 Tomasz Kedziora (capt), 15 Jaroslaw Jach, 6 Jan Bednarek, 2 Pawel Jaroszynski; 11 Przemyslaw Frankowski, 7 Karol Linetty, 8 Radoslaw Murawski, 13 Lukasz Moneta; 14 Dawid Kownacki; 16 Krzysztof Piatek

Substitutes: 10 Patryk Lipski for Moneta 46, 18 Jaroslaw Niezgoda for Piatek, 9 Mariusz Stepinski for Kownacki 74

Substitutes not used: 1 Bartomiej Dragowski, 22 Maksymilan Stryjek, 3 Krystian Bielek, 5 Igor Lasicki, 17 Pawel Dawidowicz, 19 Bartosz Kapustka, 20 Jaroslaw Kubicki, 21 Adam Buksa, 23 Przemyslaw Szyminski

Head coach: Marcin Dorna

Yellow cards: Bednarek 79, 81

Red cards: Bednarek 81

Referee: Haral Lechner (Austria)

Attendance: 13,176

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By Nicholas Veevers in Kielce, Poland