Published 03 June 2022 1 min read
Smith Rowe and Ramsey fire England MU21s to big win
Young Lions take top spot in U21 EURO qualifying group after crucial win in Czech Republic
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Emile Smith Rowe and Jacob Ramsey fired England men's under-21s to the top of their EURO qualifying group as Lee Carsley’s Young Lions clinched a crucial 2-1 win in Czech Republic.
The Arsenal and Aston Villa aces netted either side of half time as England maintained their unbeaten record with a polished performance away from home.
Carsley’s side were made to be patient but broke the deadlock midway through the first half when Smith Rowe fired home after Curtis Jones’ shot had been parried by Czech goalkeeper Matej Kovar.
Ramsey then doubled their lead from close-range just after the break and despite substitute Daniel Fila pulling one back for the Czechs, England held on to climb to the summit of Group G ahead of their hosts.
Smith Rowe returned to the squad for the heavyweight clash while Ramsey also started after enjoying an impressive breakthrough season at Villa Park.
And the Young Lions bossed possession throughout the opening 20 minutes as the Czechs sat deep and allowed the visitors to pass the ball freely.
Their dominance soon came to fruition as Smith Rowe rifled England ahead in the 22nd minute after Ben Johnson’s lofted ball down the left found Flo Balogun, whose intelligent reverse pass fell to Jones in the Czech area.
The Liverpool midfielder’s shot was saved by Manchester United’s Kovar but Smith Rowe pounced on the follow up to blast home emphatically into the roof of the net.
The hosts looked to use the wide areas to force a way back into the contest but England, in particular right-sided duo Max Aarons and Morgan Gibbs-White and goalkeeper Joe Bursik, remained composed.
But the Czechs did almost level on half an hour when Michal Kohut’s cut-back was deflected narrowly wide by Jimmy Garner.
Garner then curled a free-kick straight at Kovar and Ramsey fired wide as England went into the break firmly in control.
03 Jun 2022 4:30
Highlights: Czech Republic 1-2 England U21s
Re-live the best of the action as Lee Carsley's team pick up a crucial win
And they required just one minute to double their advantage after the break as Ramsey drilled into an empty net.
Gibbs-White darted into Czech Republic's box before squaring for the Villa star, who easily guided his strike in to put England in the driving seat.
The Czechs responded once again as Jan Zamburek fired over before Kovar saved a Gibbs-White shot from the edge of the area.
Carsley threw on Anthony Gordon, Cameron Archer and Angel Gomes in the second half as England sought to grab a third and seal the contest.
And Archer almost capped a memorable debut as he shot narrowly wide after Jones’ clever pass.
Fila curled home a stunner to pull one back for the Czechs with stoppage-time looming but England held on to leapfrog their rivals at the summit of the group with two games in hand.
England (4-3-3): 1 Joe Bursik (Stoke City); 2 Max Aarons (Norwich City), 15 Charlie Cresswell (Leeds United), 5 Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Stoke City, loan from Manchester City), 16 Ben Johnson (West Ham United); 17 Curtis Jones (Liverpool), 6 Jimmy Garner (Nottingham Forest, loan from Manchester United), 8 Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa); 7 Morgan Gibbs-White (Sheffield United, loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers), Flo Balogun (Middlesbrough, loan from Arsenal), Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)
Substitutes: 11 Anthony Gordon (Everton) for Smith Rowe 65’, 14 Cameron Archer (Preston North End, loan from Aston Villa) for Balogun 68’, 20 Angel Gomes (Lille) for Gibbs-White 82’
Substitutes not used: 3 Luke Thomas (Leicester City), 12 Djed Spence (Nottingham Forest, loan from Middlesbrough), 18 Tommy Doyle (Cardiff City, loan from Manchester City), 19 James Hill (AFC Bournemouth), James Trafford (Bolton Wonderers, loan from Manchester City), 23 Keane Lewis-Potter (Hull City)
Goals: Smith Rowe 22’, Ramsey 46’,
Cautions: Harwood-Bellis 24’, Gibbs-White 64’, Bursik 90’
Head coach: Lee Carsley
Czech Republic (4-5-1): 1 Matej Kovar; 12 Martin Cedidla, 2 Martin Vitik, 3 Denis Donat, 19 David Jurasek; 11 Pavel Sulc, 8 Lukas Cerv, 22 Filip Kaloc, 20 Jan Zamburek, 13 Michal Kohut, 17 Tomas Cvancara
Substitutes: 10 Adam Karabec for Sulc 45’, 7 Filip Soucek for Cerv 64’, 9 Vaclav Sejk for Kohut 64’, 14 Daniel Fila for Cvancara 73’
Substitutes not used: 4 Adam Gabriel, 5 Krystof Danek, 15 Karel Pojezny, 16 Vitezslav Jaros, 22 David Pech
Goals: Fila 87’
Cautions: Soucek 90’
Referee: Milos Milanovic