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Published 07 June 2022 7 min read
Men's U21

Match Report: England MU21s 3-0 Albania

Written by:

James Reid

Double from Folarin Balogun and a first international goal from Cameron Archer helped England MU21s seal EURO qualification

England men’s under-21s sealed their UEFA U21 EURO qualification with a 3-0 victory over Albania in Chesterfield.

A Folarin Balogun brace and Cameron Archer’s first-ever England goal ensured MU21s moved three points and five goals clear of second-place Czech Republic, who only have one game remaining in Group G.

It means Lee Carsley’s men only need a point from their final two qualification matches, with Kosovo lying in wait on Friday and Slovenia on Monday in Huddersfield.

The Young Lions dominated the ball throughout at Chesterfield but were met by a stubborn Albanian defence that was only broken a minute before half-time. 

Balogun tapped home just before the break and doubled his tally just after the hour, before Archer slotted home Anthony Gordon’s cross to seal the win. 

Lee Carsley named a strong England MU21s side against Albania
Lee Carsley named a strong England MU21s side against Albania

England started brightly and nearly had an opener inside two minutes through Everton winger Gordon. 

The 21-year-old cut inside from the left and curled a shot that was spilled by goalkeeper Bruno Puja, who gathered the rebound just before Balogun could tap home. 

England then had their best chance of the half after eight minutes, Ben Johnson’s excellent cross across the face of goal put the ball on a plate for Angel Gomes, who could only hit the post from close range. 

Carsley’s side were dominant in possession with Tommy Doyle and Curtis Jones keeping tempo in midfield against a deep Albanian defence but the home side struggled to carve out many clear-cut chances. 

Albania nearly got themselves ahead against the run of play with a quarter of the match played; Armando Dobra taking advantage of a poor clearance and forcing Josef Bursik to scramble across his goal and make a save. 

England continued to probe for an opener and the deadlock was broken just a minute before half-time, as Emile Smith-Rowe pounced on a defensive error to set up Balogun for his fifth England MU21s goal. 

Adolf Selmani lost control of the ball inside the box and Smith-Rowe robbed the defender before passing across goal for Balogun to tap home and make it 1-0. 

The lead nearly lasted just one minute, as Selmani almost made an immediate amends but could only head just wide from a corner on the stroke of half-time. 

England started the second half as they began the first with an early sight of goal, as Doyle’s free-kick flashed across goal with no-one in white able to tap home. 

The visitors were not without their chances. Djed Spence was forced to take evasive action to cut out a dangerous through ball from Jurgen Çelhaka and the Albanian was involved again as he found Erdis Kraja in space on the left but his dangerous cross just evaded Ernest Muçi. 

England senior team international Emile Smith Rowe was among those lining up for MU21s
England senior team international Emile Smith Rowe was among those lining up for MU21s

England then doubled their lead after 66 minutes, as Balogun netted his second of the evening. 

Morgan Gibbs-White drove into the box and found Charlie Cresswell at the back post who headed across goal for Balogun to nod home. 

It was three soon after, as Archer grabbed his first MU21s goal thanks to terrific work from Gordon. 

The winger streamed down the left flank, beating two defenders, before crossing to find Archer who simply had to tap home and make it 3-0 with just over ten minutes to play. 

Gordon’s pace and trickery caused the Albanian’s constant problems all night. The Everton man was repeatedly fouled and it was eventually one too many as Dobra was sent-off for a second yellow card as England saw out the victory. 

08 Jun 2022 4:38

Highlights: England MU21s 3-0 Albania

See the best of the action from Chesterfield as the Young Lions seal U21 EURO qualificatiion

England (4-3-3): 1 Josef Bursik (Stoke City); 12 Djed Spence (Middlesbrough), 15 Charlie Cresswell (Leeds United), 5 Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Manchester City), 16 Ben Johnson (West Ham United); 17 Curtis Jones (Liverpool), 18 Tommy Doyle (Manchester City), 10 Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal); 20 Angel Gomes (Lille), 9 Folarin Balogun (Arsenal), 11 Anthony Gordon (Everton) 

Substitutes: 7 Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers) for Smith Rowe 61’, 14 Cameron Archer (Aston Villa) for Balogun 73’, 6 James Garner (Manchester United) for Jones 73’, 23 Keane Lewis-Potter (Hull City) for Gordon 83’, 3 Luke Thomas (Leicester City) for Johnson 83’

Substitutes not used: 2 Max Aarons (Norwich City), 4 James Hill (AFC Bournemouth), 8 Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa), 22 James Trafford (Manchester City) 

Goals: Balogun 44’, 66’, Archer 77’

Yellow Cards: Balogun 69’, Doyle 74’

Head coach: Lee Carsley 

Albania (4-3-3): 12 Bruno Puja; 22 Albion Marku, 5 Adolf Selmani, 4 Adrian Bajrami, 3 Mario Mitaj; 8 Arinaldo Rrapaj, 21 Jurgen Çelhaka, 6 Erdis Kraja; 10 Armando Dobra, 20 Ernest Muçi, 14 Marsel Ismajlgeci  

Substitutes: 11 Bernard Karrica for Ismajlgeci 60, 7 Tedi Cara for Rrapaj 60, 9 Eljon Toci for Kraja 73, 13 Klevis Bebeziqi for Çelhaka 79, 16 Roy Syla for Muçi 79  

Substitutes not used: 2 Sergio Kalaj, 18 Endri Muhameti, 19 Flamur Ruçi, 23 H Weiper 

Yellow Cards: Selmani 40’, Dobra 47’, Rrapaj 49’ 

Red Cards: Dobra 78’ 

Head coach: Alban Bushi