England losing on a penalty kick shootout to Germany, it does not get much more cliched than that. And yet that's exactly what happened in the early evening hours in Poland in the European U21 Championship semifinal between the two nations, after a 2-2 draw in regulation and extra time was followed by a 4-3 shootout defeat for England and their three Chelsea starters. Ironically, it was two of England's best players, Tammy Abraham and Nathan Redmond who failed to convert.
Abraham had scored earlier in the match to give a brief 2-1 lead to England (nice play by Murphy and Hughes on the right flank to set that up), who then sat back and tried to first see out the win, then the draw, then extra time. That they did so successfully was down as much to Germany squandering a multitude of great chances, as to any actual defensive solidity on England's part. A recurrence of the groin injury on the hour mark for young Nathaniel Chalobah, who was a doubt before the match but was passed fit to make his record 97th youth cap, did not help proceedings and his departure proved key in England basically ceding all possession and hoping for the best.
And so, England's not quite spectacular but decent enough tournament is done at the second-to-last hurdle, and the Chelsea trio of Abraham, Baker, and Chalobah head off to brief holidays before preseason starts in a couple weeks (for Tammy, that preseason is likely to be with Swansea City, as that move should be confirmed soon now as well.)