Gareth Southgate’s Young Lions couldn’t turn a fantastic first-half performance into a lead, and a poor second 45 saw them crash disappointingly to defeat against a well-organised Portugal side in the first of England’s Euro 2015 Under-21 Championship matches.
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It was all England right from the off, with Portugal struggling to get into the game. Nathan Redmond and Carl Jenkinson were causing real problems down the right side, with the Arsenal star’s overlapping runs providing Redmond with plenty of space to work with.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane was also threatening, although he was largely restricted to half chances by a solid Portuguese defence. England should have made their dominance count on a number of occasions, but failed to punish Portugal and went into half time level.
The second half was a totally different game, and Portugal’s power in midfield was too much for Southgate’s side to handle. William Carvalho was particularly dominant, and he shielded the defence well, while also winning the ball back in the middle of the park.
Ten minutes into the half and England were behind, and in fairness there was more than a little bad luck about the goal. Some poor defending saw the ball ricochet around the box, but it was unfortunate for England that it somehow found it’s way through to a red shirt. Jack Butland stood up well, and, after seeing the angles closed down, the Portuguese forward was only able to hit the post. The ball fell straight at the feet of another Portuguese player, and Joao Mario tapped it into an open net.
Check out the goal below:
England failed to really recover from going a goal behind, and never looked like getting back in the game. They pushed for an equaliser right at the death, but it was too little, too late, and Southgate’s unbeaten run finally came to an end.