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England U21 1 – 0 Portugal U21

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England’s U21s survived a second-half barrage to beat Portugal 1-0 and attain the Euro 2023 semi-finals, the place they are going to face Israel.  

Anthony Gordon gave Lee Carsley’s aspect a deserved lead on the break, ending off a high-quality transfer on 34 minutes to capitalise on what was an authoritative first-half show from the Younger Lions.

It was all change after the interval, although, with Portugal hitting the bar and seeing two penalty appeals waved away as they utterly dominated the second half.

However with centre-backs Levi Colwill and Taylor Harwood-Bellis wonderful in entrance of goalkeeper James Trafford, who continues to be but to concede at this event, England got here by their most gruelling take a look at thus far to succeed in the ultimate 4.

They now flip their attentions to Israel, who they beat 2-0 within the group stage, with Wednesday’s match-up England’s first go to to this stage of the Euros since 2017.

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“England actually sat again within the second half however they handled it properly defensively,” mentioned former England U21 Lee Hendrie on Sky Sports activities Information. “It was a superb efficiency ultimately and a implausible outcome.

“England have each likelihood of going and successful this.”

How England survived Portugal onslaught to succeed in semis

After successful every of their group video games 2-0 England went into this knockout sport filled with confidence and it confirmed with the way in which they dominated possession by the primary half.

In hindsight, a pointy cease from Trafford to maintain out the spectacular Pedro Neto of Wolves ought to have been a warning of what was to return, however with Gordon hitting the goal on the different finish and Noni Madueke bending a shot simply huge, it was England wanting the extra possible.

They capitalised on that management with half-time approaching. It was a high-quality objective, which concerned every of their entrance three. Madueke rolled the ball into the fitting channel of the penalty space for Morgan Gibbs-White and his cut-back was expertly transformed by Gordon for his second objective of the event.

Anthony Gordon of England celebrates after scoring vs Portugal

England wanted a Harwood-Bellis block on the stroke of half-time to take that lead into the break, although, with the Younger Lions captain throwing himself in the way in which of a shot from Portugal skipper Tiago Dantas. That may be simply the beginning of the backs-to-the-wall defending.

Carsley’s aspect have been instantly pegged again at first of the second half, with Colwill lucky his blocked clearance did not give Trafford an even bigger downside earlier than Dantas and sub Paulo Bernardo went shut.

Portugal’s first penalty shout got here simply after the hour mark, when Fabio Silva and Colwill each went down within the field from a cross however, after the defender had made block from Henrique Araujo, there have been even larger appeals, with Araujo claiming Harwood-Bellis had hauled him down. Once more the referee noticed it in England’s favour and VAR agreed.

Gordon and Madueke for England U21s
Gordon and Noni Madueke have been threats for England within the first half however hardly had a kick after the break as Portugal dominated

Second-half sub Araujo – on mortgage at Watford final season – was within the thick of the motion and glanced a header agonisingly in opposition to the bar as Portugal pressured England again. Ultimately, the Younger Lions managed only one shot in your complete second interval – and that did not come till the 87th minute.

It was a quick respite, with Neto taking pictures huge after his preliminary free-kick was blocked on 90 minutes and Arsenal full-back Nuno Tavares blasting narrowly over deep into harm time. Lastly, the full-time whistle got here to England’s rescue.

It wasn’t fairly however someway England survived – and their Euros dream goes on.

‘Gutted’ Gordon: I ought to’ve scored a couple of extra

Match-winner Gordon was pissed off to not have taken extra probabilities to make the victory over Portugal extra snug.

“You are going to get probabilities and it is as much as me to complete them,” Newcastle winger Gordon, enjoying as a central striker, mentioned in his post-match press convention after sweeping house within the thirty fourth minute.

“I most likely ought to have had one or two extra, which I am a bit gutted about.

“I am extraordinarily drained however joyful for the win, joyful for the character we confirmed as a staff, the way in which we dug in.

“We have had a number of prime performances thus far on this event and at the moment was a very totally different problem, a very totally different sport the place that they had a number of the ball and we got here by it and dug in as a staff.

“We’ve not had that take a look at (beforehand). We’ve not had that chance to point out we have that aspect to our sport and tonight we obtained to – and we positively proved ourselves in that.”

Carsley: We confirmed spirit in certainly one of our greatest checks

England are into the semi-finals of the competitors for the primary time since 2017 and they’re going to meet Israel, whom they beat 2-0 within the group stage, on Wednesday.

“We discovered the sport in opposition to Israel tough. They’re such a compact, well-organised staff and we must be at our greatest to beat them,” mentioned England supervisor Lee Carsley, who was additionally impressed along with his aspect’s defensive show in opposition to Portugal.

He added: “I positively take into account Portugal among the best groups we’ve performed.

“We needed to present totally different components of our sport tonight; not solely have been we good in possession, what was most pleasing was the staff spirit and the way in which they caught collectively within the second half.”

Evaluation: England present high quality – after which struggle

Sky Sports activities’ Peter Smith:

England put their followers by the wringer within the second half. I do not suppose anybody might have predicted that degree of dominance from Portugal after watching the primary 45 however England simply could not pay money for the ball after the break.

“That shall be one thing for Carsley to mull over as his aspect go deeper into this event however for now he, his gamers and their supporters can take coronary heart from the way in which they battled by that vast take a look at.

“They nonetheless have not conceded a objective on this event they usually’re into the semis! Something is feasible now.”

What’s subsequent?

England will play Israel within the semi-final on the Batumi Enviornment on Wednesday July 5 with the ultimate held in the identical stadium on July 8.

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