Euro Under-21 Championship
England U21England U213Poland U21Poland U210

England U21 3-0 Poland U21

By Gary RoseBBC Sport
Not as much pressure now - Baker

England reached the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championship for the first time since 2009 by comfortably beating 10-man Poland to finish top of Group A.

Demarai Gray opened the scoring early on with a long-range effort before substitute Jacob Murphy tapped in.

Poland rarely threatened and had defender Jan Bednarek sent off late on for tripping Tammy Abraham in the box.

Lewis Baker converted the resultant penalty to complete the win.

The victory against the hosts means Aidy Boothroyd's side top the standings with seven points.

Who will England play in the last four?

England will not know their semi-final opponents until the completion of the group stage on Saturday.

They will play either Portugal from Group B or Germany, Italy or the Czech Republic from Group C.

There are only three groups at the tournament - with the three winners each progressing along with the best-placed runners up. Who England play depends on who claims the spot as the best runner-up.


At the moment Slovakia, who finished second in Group A behind England with six points and a goal difference of +3, are in a strong position.

If that happens then England will play the winner of Group C, which with one round of games left to play is topped by Germany with six points.

However, if Slovakia do not claim that place then England's last-four opponents will be either Portugal (who are the only team in Group B that could finish in a better position than Slovakia) or Germany, Italy or the Czech Republic (who could all finish in second place with a better record than Slovakia) in Group C.

England growing into the tournament

Aidy Boothroyd
Aidy Boothroyd's side have won two and drawn one of their three games at the tournament so far

England's first 135 minutes of football at the tournament did nothing to suggest they were capable of avoiding a third successive group-stage exit.

They were unadventurous and ponderous in the opener against Sweden, managing just a single shot on target, and were equally poor for the first 45 minutes of their second game against Slovakia, in which they trailed 1-0 at the break.

However, they showed grit and determination to fight back and win that game 2-1, putting them in control of their own destiny, and they came out fighting in an intimidating atmosphere against Poland.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford once again showed why Everton paid Sunderland £30m for his services with a confident and assured display, while the Leicester pair of Ben Chilwell and Gray were also excellent.

Chilwell dominated down the left, snubbing out Poland attacks while getting forward quickly to create chances, and it was from his excellent pass that Gray scored the opener.

But in truth there were standout performances all over the pitch for England.

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse provided a threat from set-pieces that is so often lacking at senior level, while Alfie Mawson was a dominant presence in defence as well as offering an aerial threat in attack.

The Swansea defender was only denied adding his name to the scoresheet by an excellent Jakub Wrabel save.

After a slow start it appears England are finding their form just at the right time.

Can England go all the way?

It has been a good summer of major tournament football so far for England.

They reached the final of the European Under-17 Championship before losing to Spain on penalties.external-link

England then claimed their biggest international title since 1966 when their Under-20 side won the World Cup earlier this month, and now the Under-21s are just two wins away from lifting another major trophy.

However, Spain have been the standout team at the tournament so far. They were the only team to secure their place in the semi-finals with a game to spare and boast some outstanding talent.

Saul Niguez, an Atletico Madrid regular and capped three times by the Spanish senior side, scored a memorable overhead kick in a 5-0 defeat of Macedonia, with Real Madrid's Marco Asensio scoring a hat-trick in that game.

Germany have also won their two games so far and have the tournament's most formidable defence - they are the only team yet to concede a goal.

However, if England perform like they did against Poland then they have every chance of emulating their Under-20 counterparts.

'Almost the perfect evening' - analysis

BBC Radio 5 live chief footballer reporter Ian Dennis: "If it wasn't for the two injuries to Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Redmond then this would be the perfect evening for Aidy Boothroyd.

"James Ward-Prowse said he felt England could go to another level and the captain was spot on as England produced their best display of the Championship.

"England were assured, creative and totally dominant to gain an emphatic victory, the margin of which would have been far greater had it not been for Jakub Wrabel, the Poland goalkeeper.

"England would have faced criticism had they made another exit so it is only right to acknowledge the achievement of finishing as group winners.

"Sixteen of this squad helped England win the Toulon tournament for the first time in 22 years last summer so there is a togetherness that exists and confidence is growing, momentum is everything in tournament football."

'England can get even stronger' - analysis

England Under-20 boss Paul Simpson, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live: "That was a top, top performance from the first whistle. They did everything manager Aidy Boothroyd would have wanted. It wasn't done by lumping it forwards, it was controlled possession while also being a real threat from set-pieces.

"This performance puts a marker down and shows what we are all about - we are not just here to make up the numbers, we are into the semi-final. And we can go on and get even stronger."

'We controlled the game'

England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd: "It's a great moment. After the first game, which was a draw, it was doom and gloom. But we have a good group here and got the two wins that we needed. It was a high-pressure game, if we hadn't won then we would be out.

"We carried out the game plan to a T. We controlled the game and played really well. There were a few nervy moments.

"Demarai Gray was terrific. He worked his socks off. It is a squad game and one of the hardest things is keeping the lads who aren't playing motivated. But it is a good group, I'm really pleased."

Not as much pressure now - Baker


England U21

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Pickford
  • 2Holgate
  • 5Chambers
  • 23MawsonBooked at 65mins
  • 3Chilwell
  • 8Ward-ProwseSubstituted forAbrahamat 73'minutes
  • 4ChalobahSubstituted forHughesat 39'minutes
  • 10Baker
  • 15Swift
  • 7Gray
  • 11RedmondSubstituted forMurphyat 45'minutes


  • 6Stephens
  • 9Abraham
  • 12Targett
  • 13Gunn
  • 14Murphy
  • 16Holding
  • 17Hause
  • 18Iorfa
  • 19Hughes
  • 20Grealish
  • 21Mitchell
  • 22Woodrow

Poland U21

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 12Wrabel
  • 4Kedziora
  • 6BednarekBooked at 82mins
  • 15Jach
  • 2Jaroszynski
  • 7Linetty
  • 8Murawski
  • 11Frankowski
  • 14KownackiSubstituted forStepinskiat 73'minutes
  • 13MonetaSubstituted forLipskiat 45'minutes
  • 16PiatekSubstituted forNiezgodaat 64'minutes


  • 1Dragowski
  • 3Bielik
  • 5Lasicki
  • 9Stepinski
  • 10Lipski
  • 17Dawidowicz
  • 18Niezgoda
  • 19Kapustka
  • 20Kubicki
  • 21Buksa
  • 22Stryjek
  • 23Szyminski
Harald Lechner

Match Stats

Home TeamEngland U21Away TeamPoland U21
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, England U21 3, Poland U21 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, England U21 3, Poland U21 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Poland U21. Conceded by Alfie Mawson.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Przemyslaw Frankowski (Poland U21) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Patryk Lipski with a headed pass.

  5. Post update

    Ben Chilwell (England U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Mariusz Stepinski (Poland U21).

  7. Post update

    Will Hughes (England U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Patryk Lipski (Poland U21).

  9. Post update

    John Swift (England U21) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Mariusz Stepinski (Poland U21).

  11. Goal!

    Goal! England U21 3, Poland U21 0. Lewis Baker (England U21) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

  12. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Jan Bednarek (Poland U21) for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Penalty England U21. Tammy Abraham draws a foul in the penalty area.

  14. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Jan Bednarek (Poland U21) after a foul in the penalty area.

  15. Post update

    Tammy Abraham (England U21) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Pawel Jaroszynski (Poland U21).

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tammy Abraham (England U21) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left following a set piece situation.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Lewis Baker (England U21) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  19. Booking

    Jan Bednarek (Poland U21) is shown the yellow card.

  20. Post update

    Tammy Abraham (England U21) wins a free kick in the attacking half.


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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 22nd June 2017

As It Stood


1England U2132105147
2Slovakia U2132016336
3Sweden U21302125-32
4Poland U21301237-41


1Spain U2122008176
2Portugal U2121013303
3Serbia U21201124-21
4Macedonia U21201127-51


1Germany U2122005056
2Czech Rep U2121013303
3Italy U2121013303
4Denmark U21200205-50
View full Euro Under-21 Championship tables

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