Euro Under-21 Championship - Group B
England U21England U211Italy U21Italy U213

England U21 1-3 Italy U21

By Mike HensonBBC Sport
Marco Benassi celebrates Italy's winner
Italy had not won either of their other two Group B games before Wednesday night

England Under-21s' European Championship campaign came to a dismal end as they lost 3-1 to Italy at the Ander stadium in the Czech Republic.

With Portugal drawing with Sweden in Group B's other game, a point would have taken England to the semi-finals.

But they conceded two goals in as many first-half minutes with Andrea Belotti and Marco Benassi scoring.

Benassi added a second with a header. Nathan Redmond scored late on but England finished bottom of the group.

England's win over Sweden on Sunday means they depart the tournament in the Czech Republic with one more victory than their abject campaign two years ago, but for a third successive tournament the Young Lions have failed to progress beyond the group stages.

The decision to omit eligible players who had previously been promoted to the senior squad - including the likes of Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - will now come under renewed scrutiny.

Coach Gareth Southgate was part of the England team that famously secured qualification for the 1998 World Cup with a 0-0 draw away to Italy, but his own side failed to show such solidity and discipline.

Instead an England Under-21 team who had advanced to the tournament at a canter, dropping just two points in their qualifying group, dissolved in the space of two first-half minutes.

First, centre forward Belotti darted between England's dawdling centre-backs to meet Domenico Berardi's cross with a superb sliding volley to score the opener.

England had not regained their shape when Lorenzo Crisetig ran at a retreating rearguard and slipped the ball to Benassi, whose careful side-foot shot found the bottom corner via a slight deflection off Ben Gibson.

Nathan Redmond scores for England against Italy
Nathan Redmond, a veteran of England Under-21s' 2013 European Championship campaign, scored England's late consolation

Harry Kane was England's likeliest route to a comeback. The Tottenham striker's incisive through-ball set up an early chance which Danny Ings wasted with the game still scoreless. He then tested Francesco Bardi in the Italy goal with a fierce left-foot of his own soon after.

But Italy's defensive shape and England's poor passing meant that the supply lines to Kane were limited in the second half and, apart from a couple of bright moments from Jesse Lingard, Southgate's side looked unlikely to force their way back into the contest.

Their fate was sealed when Benassi rose unchallenged to send home a header from Marcello Trotta's hooked cross with 18 minutes to go.

Italy's victory proved in vain with Sweden and Portugal's draw depriving them of a qualifying spot and Redmond's fierce low shot in injury time was the final act in a deflating evening for both teams.

Line-ups

England U21

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Butland
  • 2Jenkinson
  • 5Stones
  • 6Gibson
  • 3Garbutt
  • 14Chalobah
  • 4Forster-CaskeySubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 63'minutesBooked at 66mins
  • 11Redmond
  • 17Ings
  • 16Lingard
  • 9Kane

Substitutes

  • 8Ward-Prowse
  • 10Carroll
  • 12Bond
  • 13Bettinelli
  • 15Keane
  • 18Afobe
  • 19Hughes
  • 20Moore
  • 21Chambers
  • 22Targett
  • 23Loftus-Cheek

Italy U21

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Bardi
  • 22ZappacostaBooked at 57minsSubstituted forVivianiat 83'minutes
  • 5Rugani
  • 6Romagnoli
  • 3Biraghi
  • 21Cataldi
  • 4Crisetig
  • 15Benassi
  • 10BerardiSubstituted forSabelliat 63'minutes
  • 19TrottaSubstituted forVerdiat 75'minutes
  • 9Belotti

Substitutes

  • 2Sabelli
  • 7Viviani
  • 11Bernardeschi
  • 12Barba
  • 13Bianchetti
  • 14Sportiello
  • 16Baselli
  • 17Izzo
  • 18Battocchio
  • 20Leali
  • 23Verdi
Referee:
Sergey Karasev

Match Stats

Home TeamEngland U21Away TeamItaly U21
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home19
Away11
Shots on Target
Home4
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home11
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, England U21 1, Italy U21 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, England U21 1, Italy U21 3.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Italy U21. Marco Benassi tries a through ball, but Andrea Belotti is caught offside.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! England U21 1, Italy U21 3. Nathan Redmond (England U21) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

  5. Post update

    Harry Kane (England U21) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Lorenzo Crisetig (Italy U21).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (England U21).

  8. Post update

    Simone Verdi (Italy U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Simone Verdi (Italy U21) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Marco Benassi with a cross.

  10. Post update

    Offside, England U21. Harry Kane tries a through ball, but Danny Ings is caught offside.

  11. Post update

    Corner, England U21. Conceded by Cristiano Biraghi.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jesse Lingard (England U21) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Italy U21. Federico Viviani replaces Davide Zappacosta.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Simone Verdi (Italy U21) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Danilo Cataldi.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nathan Redmond (England U21) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Harry Kane.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Danny Ings (England U21).

  17. Post update

    Francesco Bardi (Italy U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Harry Kane (England U21) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Nathan Redmond.

  19. Post update

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek (England U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Andrea Belotti (Italy U21).

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 24th June 2015

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