England came into the 2019 European Championships as one of the favorites, looking to build on a top four finish in 2017, where they only lost on penalties to eventual champions Germany, and an unbeaten qualification campaign (8 wins, 2 draws, both of those against the Netherlands).
Instead, they’re going home after just two games, with manager Aidy Boothroyd on the chopping block. His decision to not start Tammy Abraham in either of the two games, the 2-1 last-gasp loss to France and the 4-2 last-gasp loss to Romania, is just one of the many now being asked of the man who replaced current England boss Gareth Southgate three years ago.
Last night, Abraham played once again just the final 15 minutes (same as against France), but in that time scored a goal, hit the crossbar, and missed another great chance. The goal arrived courtesy of a wonderful lofted ball from Mason Mount, getting the start this time unlike in the first game, which Abraham controlled with his chest and finished with quick shot through the defender’s legs before the goalkeeper could even react. Perfect center forward play from the possible future Chelsea No.9.
Unfortunately for England, that goal only drew them level at 2-2. Ten minutes prior, Jonjoe Kenny gave away a silly penalty, which former Inter Milan prospect George Pusças converted with ease. Leicester City’s Demarai Gray replied almost immediately (Jake Clarke-Salter getting credit for the assist), but then another individual error, this time from Fikayo Tomori, gave Ianis Hagi (son of the amazing Gheorghe) a shooting chance from range, which he blasted past Dean Henderson.
After Tammy’s equalizer, it was Henderson’s turn to make a mistake, as he let a long shot from Florinel Coman slip past him at the near post. The same player then made it 4-2 in the third minute of added-on time, with yet another blast from distance, to seal England’s fate and begin talk of a golden generation in Romania. Romania dominated early but left the scoring late, and yet still have eight goals in the two games they’ve played at the tournament so far.
The four goals England conceded are not a good look for a defensive line that was once again 3/4th Chelsea, although most of them were down to individual errors rather than collective play, and Jay Dasilva was withdrawn after the first one, too. England do have one more game left, against equally winless Croatia, who were beaten by France 1-0, but it will not be a tournament to remember for the young Lions.