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Euro U21s Review: Romania send England packing as France maintain winning start


Rome, June 22: England's 2-4 defeat to Romania saw them slump out of the Under-21 European Championships after France overcame Croatia in Group C's other fixture.

After losing late on against France, Aidy Boothroyd made five changes for Friday's clash in Cesena including dropping Phil Foden, but England had to rely on goalkeeper Dean Henderson to keep Romania at bay in the first half.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – heavily linked with a move to Manchester United – scored the own goal that cost England a point in their opening match, and his replacement Jonjoe Kenny was at fault for Romania's first goal when he brought down substitute Florinel Coman in the box.

George Puscas made no mistake from the spot, setting up a remarkable final 20 minutes.

Demarai Gray's exceptional strike levelled proceedings three minutes later, only for Fikayo Tomori to gift the ball to Ianis Hagi – son of Gheorghe – who restored Romania's lead with a superb goal.

England were swiftly level again, however, when Tammy Abraham turned home from a tight angle.

But another calamitous mistake then did for England – Henderson spilling Coman's long-range strike over the line before the Romania winger rounded off the win with a venomous volley in stoppage time.

England's defeat meant France needed just a point from their clash with Croatia to send Boothroyd's side home and put themselves in the driving seat for at least a top two finish.

And they wasted little time in taking the lead in Friday's late match, Moussa Dembele heading home in the eighth minute.

Sandro Kulenovic hit the post and Nikola Vlasic went close as Croatia rallied in the second half, but Dembele's early effort ultimately proved enough to seal the points.

France's win also condemned Croatia to an early exit, and Sylvain Ripoll's side's clash with Romania on Monday will now decide who tops Group C, though both teams have given themselves a strong chance of progressing into the semi-finals as the best second-placed side regardless.

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Story first published: Saturday, June 22, 2019, 3:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 22, 2019
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