Let's start with the bad news: Nathaniel Chalobah is injured. Again. Well, probably. Nothing is known for sure just yet, but he appeared to clutch at his leg about midway through the first half and was withdrawn a few short minutes later. Chalobah had been carrying a knock, that he picked up in training, reportedly, but was declared fit to start on a rainy, slippy Monday night in Brittany.
It all started quite swimmingly on the water-logged pitch for England U21. While France had the upper hand and the better of the play -- just as they would for most of the day -- England made both of their two early chances count, Tottenham's Harry Kane grabbing two goals in the space of just a couple minutes. Chalobah, impressive in restricting France's attack to mostly harmless possession, collected a secondary assist on the second goal, supplying the through ball to Tom Ince whose cross-shot after an impressive turn was slotted home by Kane. England looked to be cruising, but Chalobah's injury seemed to change all that and the hosts stormed back via first-half goals by Yaya Sanogo (twice) and a second-half winner from 18-year-old Juventus prospect Kingsley Coman. Two-nil, and they [funned] it up, as the song goes. Patrick Bamford was an unused substitute.
There was slightly better news at one age-level lower, as England U20's beat Portugal 4-3 in a friendly shootout after a 1-1 draw in regulation. Captain Lewis Baker scored one of the feats of strength/airings of grievances, but John Swift remained on the bench throughout. That's two draws from two for Aidy Boothroyd's charges during the international break, though this one (against the defending U19 Euro Championship runners-up) looks a lot better than the 2-2 draw against Canada.
Lastly, there was even better news at the U18 level, where both Dominic Solanke and Jake Clarke-Salter played the full 90 as England came from behind to dispatch Poland with eventual ease 4-1. Solanke got on the scoresheet, as it tends to be the case whenever he gets on the pitch, with the equalizing goal not a minute after Poland took the lead.
Meanwhile, Andreas Christensen and Denmark U21 kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Italy, Charly Musonda, Jr. impressed for the second game running for Belgium U21 -- this time with a goal, an assist, and sort-of-an-assist with a blocked shot supplying Junior Malanda for Belgium's fourth in a 4-1 win over Norway -- and defender Ali Suljic played over 20 minutes for Sweden U19 from the bench and even scored a goal in their 5-1 shellacking of Bulgaria.
Well done, all!