Report: Israel 0-3 England MU21s
The Young Lions secured their place in the final at the U21 EURO following victory against Israel in Batumi
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Morgan Gibbs-White, Cole Palmer, and Cameron Archer were all on target as England men’s under-21s emphatically booked their place in the final of the UEFA European Under-21 Championships with a 3-0 victory over Israel.
Having missed an early penalty, Gibbs-White made amends just before the break to nod England into the lead, looping a header past Tomer Zarfati from Palmer’s delightful cross from deep.
Palmer struck himself, decisively sliding home Emile Smith Rowe’s cross midway through the second half before Palmer again turned provider for Archer to slam home at the death to seal a first European Under-21 Championships final for the Young Lions since 2009.
It was a result that reflected Lee Carsley’s side utter dominance, with the Young Lions dictating the tempo throughout against a defensively resolute Israel side.
England started brightly and had their first sight of goal inside three minutes, Smith Rowe slipping Anthony Gordon through in the box before his effort was well smothered by Zarfati.
Gordon was then involved again, drawing a foul on the left wing from Karem Jaber, from which Levi Colwill nodded the resulting free-kick just wide.
England’s next sight of goal then came through excellent defensive pressure, Smith Rowe robbing Zarfati of the ball before efforts cleared off the line and come off the post, before Gordon was fouled by Jaber in the box.
A lengthy VAR check confirmed the decision, but Gibbs-White could not take advantage as his effort from 12 yards went wide of the post.
Having been given a let off by the Young Lions, Israel had their first sights of goal as Dor Turgeman fired wide from outside the box before Jaber and Stan Lemkin both headed wide from consecutive corners and Omri Gendelman saw his shot go just past the post after a surging run into the box from midfield.
But England quickly resumed dominance and found the all-important breakthrough four minutes from half-time.
Palmer was given too much time to whip a cross into the box from deep on the right-hand side, and Gibbs-White timed his run perfectly to nod home and send England into the break ahead.
Highlights: Israel 0-3 England MU21s
See how the Young Lions sealed their spot in the UEFA U21 EURO Final
The Young Lions began the second half on top, with Smith Rowe and Gibbs-White both curling efforts on target that were comfortably dealt with by Zarfati.
Gordon then slipped Gibbs-White through in the box, with only good goalkeeping denying the Nottingham Forest midfielder his second of the evening before Angel Gomes fired over from distance as England searched intently for a second.
They duly doubled their lead just after the hour mark, as Palmer slid home Smith-Rowe’s cross at the back post.
The goal had initially been ruled out by the assistant referee’s flag after Gibbs-White slotted Smith Rowe in behind, but a VAR check adjudged the Arsenal winger to be onside.
That goal looked to have all-but sealed England’s place in Saturday’s final, but Israel did not go down without a late push to get themselves back into the game.
Idan Gorno almost found himself in behind before Colwill brought him down just outside the box, Roy Revivo sending the resulting free-kick just wide of James Trafford’s post.
Trafford was then called into action for the first time with just five minutes left on the clock, saving smartly at his near post from Anan Khalaili’s header after the Manchester City ‘keeper had given the ball away.
But Lee Carsley’s side shut down any notions of a late comeback with a flowing move as the clock ticked towards 90, Archer ruthlessly smashing home from inside the box after Palmer found him unmarked.
It meant England, who are still yet to concede a goal this tournament, will return to the Batumi Arena for their first final since 2009, where they will face either Spain or Ukraine on Saturday.
England: 1. James Trafford, 3. Luke Thomas, 4. Levi Colwill, 5. Taylor Harwood-Bellis, 7. Morgan Gibbs-White, 10. Emile Smith Rowe, 11. Anthony Gordon, 14. James Garner, 17. Curtis Jones, 20. Cole Palmer, 21. Angel Gomes
Substitutes: 9. Cameron Archer for Gordon 74’, 19. Harvey Elliott for Smith Rowe 74’, 6. Oliver Skipp for Gomes 79’, 23. Noni Madueke for Gibbs-White 79’, 18. Tommy Doyle for Jones 89’
Substitutes not used: 12. Jarrad Branthwaite, 13. Josh Griffiths, 15. Charlie Cresswell, 22. Carl Rushworth
Goals: Gibbs-White 41’, Palmer 63’, Archer 90’
Yellow Cards: Colwill
Head coach: Lee Carsley
Israel: 2. Karem Jaber, 5. Gil Cohen, 6.Omri Gendelman, 10. Oscar Gloukh, 11. Dor Turgeman, 12. Roy Revivo, 15. Eitan Azulay, 20. Hisham Layous, 21. Stav Lemkin, 22. Ilay Hajaj, 23. Tomer Zarfati
Substitutes: 13. Anan Khalaili for Hajaj 56’, 9. Idan Gorno for Layous 56’, 14. Oz Bilu for Azulay 75’, 17. Ayanaw Ferede for Gendelman, 19. Mohammed Abu Rumi for Turgeman
Subs not used: 3. Ziv Morgan, 4. Or Blorian, 8. Arad Bar, 16. Yoav Hofmeister, 18. Sharif Kaiuf
Head coach: Guy Luzon
Yellow Cards: Turgeman, Lemkin