England’s defence of the Maurice Revello Tournament title started with a 2-1 defeat against Japan in Aubagne.
Despite taking a first-half lead through captain Trevoh Chalobah, Japan turned the game around after the break to seal an opening day victory on a scorching afternoon in southern France.
With Japan’s U22 side preparing for next summer’s Olympic Games, Paul Simpson’s squad, which features a mixture of age group players, certainly knew they’d found a strong level of opposition.
And it was Japan who enjoyed the better of the opportunities in the first half, but spurned a number of half chances to draw first blood.
But after finding either Ellery Balcombe in sharp form or proving wasteful in front of goal, England made them pay ten minutes before the break when they took the lead.
Dwight McNeil’s in-swinging corner was met by Chalobah, who guided a diving header home to get the Young Lions up and running and in front at the break.
Japan equalised within four minutes of the restart though, when Takuma Ominami bundled home after getting on the end of a pacy free-kick from the left.
And they took the lead in the 69th minute when Ito Tatsuya tricked his way down the left channel before chipping a cross to the far post for Yuchi Naganuma to plant a firm header past Balcombe
England's best spell of the game came in the last 15 minutes and they had a good chance to draw level when Max Lowe crossed from the left only to see fellow substitute Josh Sims head over at the far post.
Marc Guehi then got on the end of another McNeil flag-kick, only to see his header back across goal flash inches wide of the post as the Young Lions piled on some late pressure in the search for a draw.
The Young Lions are back in action on Tuesday when they face Portugal, with the game being shown live on FreeSports in the UK.
England: 1 Ellery Balcombe (Brentford), 3 Tom Pearce (Leeds United), 4 Sam Field (WBA), 5 Marc Guehi (Chelsea), 6 Trevoh Chalobah (Chelsea) (c), 10 Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough), 11 Dwight McNeil (Burnley), 12 Steven Sessegnon (Fulham), 14 George Hirst (OH Leuven), 16 Kyle Edwards (WBA), 20 Josh Dasilva (Brentford)
Substitutes: 17 Jayden Bogle (Derby County) for Dasilva 65, 18 Max Lowe (Derby County) for Pearce 73, 19 Josh Sims (Southampton) for Edwards 73, 21 Danny Loader (Reading) for Hirst 82
Substitutes not used: 2 Reece James (Chelsea), 7 Eberechi Eze (QPR), 8 Joe Willock (Arsenal), 9 Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), 13 Ryan Schofield (Huddersfield Town), 15 Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), 22 Jamie Shackleton (Leeds United)
Goals: Trevoh Chalobah 36
Cautions: Steven Sessegnon 46
Head coach: Paul Simpson