England’s miserable U21 European Championships ended with a 3-3 draw against Croatia last night. Both teams had already been eliminated from knockout round contention by losing their first two group games, and perhaps fittingly, neither could find a winning goal on Monday either.
England did take the lead three times, only to be pegged back three times, prompting under-fire head coach Aidy Boothroyd to rail against the mentalities of players barely old enough to be considered adults. Solid work, Aidy.
“We need a little bit of steel and that’s in our thinking. The teams that we’ve played have been teams that are streetwise, and we’re not. We need to get that into our game all the way through our age groups.”
-Aidy Boothroyd; source: BBC
Streetwise? The only thing that is streets behind is the coaching. (At least Boothroyd’s comments were not nearly as archaic and condescending as Phil Neville’s diatribe against Cameroon yesterday at the Women’s World Cup — then again, P.Nev wanted Marco Ianni sacked for celebrating a goal, so he sure loves a bit of melodrama. But I digress.)
In any case, Tammy Abraham finally got the start that he deserved (and played the full game!), but was unfortunately kept out by the woodwork for the second game running, and for some reason also did not take the penalty for England’s first goal despite being the nominated taker. Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson converted instead.
Jay Dasilva didn’t play but Fikayo Tomori and Jake Clarke-Salter started as the center back pairing once again, while Mason Mount made a 35-minute appearance off the bench. But every time England did something good, they would follow it up with an error. That’s the thing with young players, they’ll be inconsistent, especially at the end of a long and grueling season.
This is Fikayo Tomori's 62nd competitive appearance of the season for club and country. He's played more than 5000 minutes in total; that is a remarkable workload.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) June 24, 2019
Time to rest and recover, especially for those who are set for possible roles with Chelsea next season (that’s you, Tammy!).
Meanwhile, at the Women’s World Cup of VAR, two more Chelsea players reached the quarterfinals as Sweden edged past Canada, 1-0. Magdalena Eriksson played the full 90, while former Chelsea goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl kept the clean sheet, which included a fantastic penalty save.
Sweden will take on Germany in Saturday’s quarterfinal.
Elsewhere at the 2019 World Cup, USA struggled past Spain 2-1 to set up a big showdown against France. The winner of the game will face the winner of Norway vs. England in one of the semifinals.