European Under-21 Championship: France revive hopes, England on brink of elimination

By Sports Desk March 28, 2021

France got off the mark at the European Under-21 Championship with a 2-0 win over Russia, while a second successive loss for England leaves them on the brink of elimination.

Les Bleuets went down 1-0 to Denmark in their tournament opener but responded with a routine win in Szombathely on Sunday through a pair of first-half penalties.

Odsonne Edouard won and converted the first of the spot-kicks after 15 minutes and Jonathan Ikone added a second from 12 yards with a precise Panenka.

Defeat for France would have knocked them out of the competition, but some good goalkeeping from Alban Lafont kept their two-goal margin intact and they live to fight on.

England's hopes of progressing to the semi-finals later this year were dealt another huge blow, however, as they suffered a 2-0 defeat against Portugal in Ljubljana.

Aidy Boothroyd's side, who lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their opener, failed to muster a single shot on target versus Portugal and now require a helping hand in the final set of games.

A goal-line clearance from Ben Godfrey denied Portugal an early breakthrough, but their persistence paid off as they found the net for the 30th U21 Euros match running.

Dani Carvalho rounded off a counter with a low curler away from Aaron Ramsdale into the bottom corner and substitute Francisco Trincao converted a penalty 10 minutes later.

England now need to beat Croatia, who edged out Switzerland 3-2 earlier on Sunday, in their next match and hope Portugal beat the Swiss in Wednesday's other group clash.

Croatia were made to work hard for their victory at SRC Bonifika - their first ever in the competition - after seeing their three-goal lead reduced to just one in a thrilling contest.

Luka Ivanusec opened the scoring early on against the run of play and they were cruising when Nikola Moro and Dario Vizinger added quickfire goals shortly after the hour mark - the former from the penalty spot.

But there was to be some late drama as substitute Kastriot Imeri scored from the penalty spot and Sandro Kulenovic put into his own net.

Switzerland nearly snatched an incredible comeback point, only for Dominik Kotarski to deny Alexandre Jankewitz with a big save in added time.

Denmark were 2-0 winners against Iceland in Sunday's early kick-off, meanwhile, thanks to goals from Gustav Isaksen and Mads Bech in the first 18 minutes.

Oliver Christensen kept out a Sveinn Aron Gudjohnsen penalty before half-time and Iceland failed to put up much of a fight from that point on.

The Danes are three points clear of France and Wednesday's opponents Russia, while Iceland are without a point but could still advance if results go their way next week.

Related items

  • Morrison announces departure from Derby County Morrison announces departure from Derby County

    Jamaica international Ravel Morrison will once again be on the move after announcing his departure from English club Derby County.

    The 29-year-old former standout youth prospect signed with the then Championship club at the start of last summer, following his release by Dutch side ADO Den Haag.  The midfielder went on to have a decent campaign for derby, scoring 5 goals in 37 appearances.

    Following the club’s relegation from the second division, however, a number of players and the team’s manager, former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney, have announced their departure.  The Reggae Boy confirmed his departure from Pride Park via social media platform Instagram.

    Thank you @dcfcofficial all the players, staff & fans for making me feel at home, was a season full of ups and downs but was a real honour to be part of such a wonderful club," Morrison wrote.

    "I wish everyone at the club success moving forward."

    The player has had loan spells with Birmingham City, QPR, and Cardiff City and spells aboard with Lazio, Atlas, and Ostersund. He returned to Sheffield United in 2019 for a season, before another single season in the Netherlands concluded with him moving to the East Midlands.

  • Putellas marks historic 100th cap for Spain with a goal Putellas marks historic 100th cap for Spain with a goal

    Alexia Putellas became the first female to make 100 appearances for Spain and marked the occasion in style by scoring in a 1-1 draw against Italy.

    The 28-year-old made her debut for La Roja in 2013 and, less than a decade on, won her landmark century cap in Castel di Sangro on Friday.

    Putellas will be a key member of Spain's Euro 2022 squad and again proved her worth with an equaliser to cancel out Valentina Bergamaschi's opener in the friendly.

    Barcelona attacker Putellas, who has also appeared three times for Catalonia, now has 27 goals for Spain at senior level.

    The game was the final warm-up for both nations ahead their European Championship campaigns getting under way in England next week.

    Spain are in a group with Germany, Denmark and Finland, while Italy will face France, Belgium and Iceland.

  • Botman aiming to help Newcastle 'get to the top' after completing move from Lille Botman aiming to help Newcastle 'get to the top' after completing move from Lille

    Sven Botman is hoping to help Newcastle United in their goal to "get to the top" after finalising his move from Lille.

    Newcastle confirmed earlier this week a deal, worth a reported upfront cost of £31.8million (€37m), had been reached with Lille to sign the central defender.

    That transfer was made official on Friday, with the ambitious Premier League club seeing off interest from a number of other teams, including Serie A champions Milan.

    Netherlands Under-21 international Botman becomes Newcastle's third signing of the window following the permanent capture of Matt Targett and the arrival of Nick Pope.

    Eddie Howe's side continue to be linked with an array of other players, and Botman is confident he has made the right choice in moving to St James' Park.

    "I'm really happy – delighted – and I can't wait to start this new adventure," Botman, who penned a five-year contract, told Newcastle's official website. 

    "This is the best day of my life, to sign a contract with Newcastle United. It's a day I've worked hard for and I'm very excited.

    "Newcastle had a long-term plan to get to the top, for both me and for the club, and they play in the Premier League which is the best league in Europe. 

    "The whole package is just perfect. I'm looking forward now to meeting the fans and also my new team-mates."

    Newcastle may reportedly pay up to £35m for Botman, which would make him their third-most expensive signing behind Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton (both £40m).

    Botman won the Ligue 1 title during his two years with Lille, having previously emerged through Ajax's youth system without making a competitive senior appearance.

    "I'm delighted Sven is joining us. He is technically very good, physically very good and has a great attitude," Newcastle boss Howe added.

    "At 22, he already has solid experience at the top level but he is at a great age to grow with this team. 

    "I am looking forward to getting to work with him and seeing him with his new team-mates."

    Newcastle begin their 2022-23 Premier League season at home against newly promoted Nottingham Forest on August 6.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.