It wasn't just the senior players attempting to qualify for the European Championships as several U-21 sides were in action today as well. England's U-21 side were in serious danger of not making it out of their group and into the final eight, and it was win or bust away against a strong Portuguese side. Featuring for the Blues and England were Michael Mancienne, Ryan Bertrand, Jack Cork, and Daniel Sturridge, with Sturridge playing the whole match and scoring what turned out to be the winner. Bertrand, currently on loan with Championship side Nottingham Forest, played particularly well at right-back, while Cork was a late midfield substitute.
It wasn't all good news for the England/Chelsea boys, though, as Mancienne, who was captaining the side and playing in a holding midfield role, was forced off the pitch deep into the second half with a facial injury. From what I understand it's fairly superficial, but let's wish Michael a quick recovery. The only other Chelsea U21 to see any action was Patrick van Aanholt in Holland's 2-1 loss against Spain. The full-back played the full match for the Dutch, who were missing Jeffrey Bruma due to his hernia problem.
Despite securing victory over Portugal, England will need to beat Lithuania at home in their final group stage match in order to maintain any hope of advancing to the playoff stages. The final tournament will be held next year in Denmark, but England will have some work to do to better their performance from 2009, where they finished runners up.