England’s chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the European Under-21 Championship are hanging in the balance after a sluggish display and defeat by Portugal.
Losing to Switzerland in the opening game, England were second best, failing to shoot a goal.
Dany Mota’s bad shot and Francisco Trinca’s penalty kick decided the game in the second half in Ljubljana.
England must now beat Croatia and hope that Portugal will defeat Switzerland in order to have any chance of advancing from Group D.
Even if England and Portugal win, then it would come down to a three-way match between England, Croatia and Switzerland for one place, probably settled by the difference in goals. Croatia beat Switzerland 3-2 on Sunday.
Warning signs were for England as early as the third minute on Sunday when Ben Godfrey was forced to repel Mott from his own goal line.
England did not listen to them or, more precisely, was mostly powerless to do anything against a far superior opponent.
Everton defender Godfrey had to do a similar rescue job in the last ditch later in the first half, again denying Moti a sliding strike near the post, while Aidy Boothroyd’s team struggled to maintain parity before the break.
Fabio Vieira and Vitinha fired from a wide range, while traffic was still flowing in one direction, it was only a matter of time before the deadlock would stop.
It was a dipping freekickby Mota but it didnt quite do enough and hit the bar after beating Pedro Goncalves and his despairing dive.
Trincao kicked the game out of England from the spot after Marc Guehi got stuck in his boot and caught Goncal Ramos ’substitution in the penalty area.
The qualifiers will also be out of them, unless they achieve a significantly improved performance against Croatia on Wednesday.
‘It’s still possible and we’ll fight to the end’
England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd, speaking to Sky Sports: “It’s deeply disappointing. You have to give credit to the opponent. They are a very good team and we have them on a good day.
“We didn’t create close enough. Given the goals we scored so far, that was the real strength of this group. Creating chances and scoring goals is a big part of what we are, so it’s really disappointing to be corrected before the last game.
“We intended to take the game to Portugal. In the first half we stuck to the game plan – we wanted to be in the game at half time. In my opinion it’s not a penalty. We won’t make excuses. Now it’s about picking them up and going again.
“It’s still mathematically possible and we’re going to fight to the end. We came here to play three games and we intend to. We wanted to get into the final game with it still in our hands, and it’s not.”
- 1Meireles Costa
- 2CorreiaBooked for 52 minutes
- 3Monteiro Pinto Leite
- 6Morris LuisReplaced bySantos Bragançau 45 ‘minutes
- 23VieiraReplaced byShe will conceiveu 63 ‘minutes
- 8Carvalho FernandesReplaced byMachado Trincãou 45 ‘minutes
- 18Pereira GonçalvesReplaced byBarros Soaresu 88 ‘minutes
- 11Mota CarvalhoReplaced byMatias Ramosu 73 ‘minutesBooked for 90 minutes
- 9Matias Ramos
- 10Santos Bragança
- 12Arantes Maximiano
- 13Franco Tavares
- 14Lopes Pereira
- 15Embaló Djaló
- 16Barros Soares
- 17Machado Trincão
- 19by Melo Tomás
- 20Net Lopes
- 21She will conceive
- 22Neves Virginia
- 4GodfreyBooked at 67min
- 14S SessegnonReplaced byBrewsteru 83 ‘minutes
- 6DaviesReplaced byJonesu 72 ‘minutes
- 18Smith RoweReplaced byEzeu 45 ‘minutes
- 23MaduekeReplaced byGallagheru 72 ‘minutes
- 11R SessegnonReplaced byMcNeilu 55 ‘minutes
- Francois Letexier
The match ends, Portugal U21 2, England U21 0.
End of the second half, Portugal U21 2, England U21 0.
Foul by Filipe Soares (Portugal U21).
Curtis Jones (England U21) takes the free-kick in the defensive half.
Daniel Bragança (Portugal U21) takes the free-kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rhian Brewster (England U21).
Gonçalo Ramos (Portugal U21) is booked.
Gonçalo Ramos (Portugal U21) fell, but the referee considers it a simulation.
Trying to miss Gonçalo Ramos (Portugal U21) shoots from the right side but the keeper saves the ball. Assisted by Trincão.
Diogo Costa (Portugal U21) takes the free-kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marc Guehi (England U21).
Corner, England U21. Courtesy of Gonçalo Ramos.
Substitution, Portugal U21. Filipe Soares replaced Pedro Gonçalves.
Foul from Trincão (Portugal U21).
Marc Guehi (England U21) takes the free-kick.
Corner, Portugal U21. Courtesy of Ben Godfrey.
Attempt blocked. Pedro Gonçalves (Portugal U21) shot from the right foot from the center of the penalty area. Assisted by Trincão.
Foul Daniel Bragança (Portugal U21).
Oliver Skipp (England U21) takes the free-kick.
Substitution, England U21. Rhian Brewster replaces Steven Sessegnon.