Ebene News – GB – England U21s suffer grief after late goal ending knockout hopes

England 2-1 Croatia: Young Lions needed a two-goal win but conceded late to come out

The Under-21s battling England suffered late heartbreak as they lost 2-1 to Croatia to exit Euro 2021

Domagoj Bradaric’s downtime strike threw the Young Lions just when they appeared to have pulled off a stunning recovery

Ebere Eze’s early penalty and a second goal from Curtis Jones – who was sent off after the final whistle – nearly booked an eighth draw against Spain in May

Young Lions, who had lost their first two Group D games, had to win by two goals and hope Portugal beat Switzerland The Portuguese won 3-0 at the top of Group D, but despite a much improved display , Bradaric’s latest knockout helped Croatia advance to the quarter-finals at the expense of England

Jones and Dwight McNeil also hit the woods as England almost completed their unexpected victory at Koper, but the loss and an early exit puts additional pressure on Aidy Boothroyd’s position as manager

They were without Tom Davies, Marc Guehi, Ben Godfrey and Emile Smith Rowe after failing late fitness tests, while Callum Hudson-Odoi had already returned to Chelsea with a shoulder injury

Knowing what it takes to qualify, England started with more verve and intention than in their previous two games in Slovenia

Jones – making his first start of the tournament – immediately offered more energy and hit the crossbar from the edge of the zone after a quick turn

It was a clean opening for the Young Lions and they were rewarded, controversially, moving forward after 12 minutes Eddie Nketiah fell under challenge from Bartol Franjic in the box and, despite minimal contact, referee Harm Osmers pointed to the spot.

It was sweet, but Eze sent Dominik Kotarski the wrong way to give England a perfect start

Still, the Young Lions failed to immediately take advantage of their advantage and Croatia slowly started to gain momentum, giving England their first scare after 32 minutes

Croatia captain Nikola Moro jumped into the zone and his low cross found Dario Spikic eight yards away, only for the midfielder to fly away Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale then reversed a routine strike from Luka Ivanusec before the Dinamo Zagreb youngster fired another warning shot eight minutes before the break

Conor Gallagher and Japhet Tanganga played each other in trouble and Ivanusec leapt up to nip the ball and burst towards the edge of the box The midfielder only had Ramsdale to beat, but the keeper made a good save to deflect his weak training

With Croatia being the best team since coming behind, although Jones threw a wide shot just before half-time, Boothroyd’s team still had some work to do and went for a second killer after restart

Igor Biscan’s men had shown more control in the first half, but Kotarski had to be vigilant to save Eze’s low free kick after 50 minutes

Jones’ effort deviated widely before Nketiah shot straight at Kotarski after being released by Eze The Young Lions continued their push for a second and McNeil’s free kick hit a post after 63 minutes

Croatia’s threat had diminished, but Ramsdale needed to score Kristijan Bistrovic’s 30-yard free-kick, with England also escaping when Ivanusec broke and Moro dragged it off

Substitute Rhian Brewster crossed McNeil to hold the ball and found Jones, who hit a low drive into the lower 15-yard corner

Still, just as it looked like the Young Lions had secured the two-goal win they needed, Bradaric fumbled from the edge of the zone in the first minute of the stoppage time

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England National Under-21 Football Team, Aidy Boothroyd, UEFA European Under-21 Championship, Croatia National Under-21 Football Team

Ebene News – GB – England Under-21s suffer heartbreaking extra time after late goal ends knockout hopes

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/international/england-croatia-result-u21-euros-b1825197.html