Report: England MU21 2-0 Israel
Goals from Anthony Gordon and Emile Smith Rowe ensure England men's under-21s qualify for the knockout stages of the UEFA Under-21 Championship with a game to spare
Goals from Anthony Gordon and Emile Smith Rowe fired England men’s under-21s to a 2-0 win over Israel in the Shengelia Arena in Kutaisi, Georgia, to book their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Under-21 European Championship.
With England men’s senior boss Gareth Southgate and assistant Steve Holland having flown out to Georgia to watch the team, Gordon headed home England’s only shot on target of the first half, as they led 1-0 at the break, before Smith Rowe wrapped up the points to make it two wins from two for the Young Lions – victorious 2-0 over Czechia in their opener.
Israel spent much of the game on the back foot, James Trafford called into action just once in the first half, while he was similarly untroubled in the second.
The routine success clinches a quarter-final spot for Lee Carsley’s side and Czechia’s late goal to beat Germany in the other game means the top spot in Group C is in the bag too ahead of a final game against the Germans on Wednesday.
England threatened early, with Smith Rowe finding the back of the net after just four minutes. The Arsenal man created the opportunity with a clever flick through his legs after being picked out by Noni Madueke, but was offside when the ball had been played through.
The Young Lions did not have to wait long for the breakthrough though, Gordon providing it on the quarter hour. It came after some lovely build-up down the left, Morgan Gibbs-White heavily involved before putting in a pinpoint cross. Gordon had found some space in the box and was able to nod home with an angled header into the bottom right corner.
While England looked comfortable, they were struggling to turn possession into genuine chances, Israel dealing with the first corner of the game without too much trouble.
Highlights: England MU21s 2-0 Israel
See the best of the action as the Young Lions make it two wins from two at the U21 EUROs in Georgia
At the other end, Trafford had very little work to do until late in the half, with England equally comfortable defending from set-piece.
However, some neat work from Oscar Gloukh and Roy Revivo, two of the senior internationals in the Israel team, saw the latter fire in a dangerous cross that was headed wide by Dor Turgeman.
Right at the end of the half, Ben Johnson was caught out by a long ball, fouling Karem Jaber and conceding a yellow card. That gave Israel a good opportunity with a free-kick from the right, but Trafford got down well to his right to turn Eitan Azoulay’s fizzing effort away.
That was the final act of the first half and England had clearly heeded the warning, coming out with renewed intent in the second 45 minutes.
Gordon and Gibbs-White both had penalty claims waved away in the first ten minutes of the second half, either side of a great chance for Madueke.
Played in by a beautiful through-ball from Gibbs-White, the Chelsea man had the option to cross to Gordon but instead had a go himself – the ball squirting off the outside of his right boot and wide of the target after Madueke slipped at the vital moment.
Israel began to press, with England’s lead looking a little more fragile but with 20 minutes to go, Smith Rowe’s brilliant finish effectively wrapped up the victory.
Following some clever interplay, Smith Rowe played a brilliant one-two with Gibbs-White, then made some space and fired low into the bottom left corner to make it 2-0.
With the game under control, England threatened to add a third, Cameron Archer taking one touch too many after a lovely ball from Harvey Elliott.
As it turned out, they could not find a final goal, having to settle for comfortably seeing the game out to clinch a place in the last eight for the first time since 2017.
England: 1. James Trafford, 4. Levi Colwill, 5. Taylor Harwood-Bellis, 7. Morgan Gibbs-White, 10. Emile Smith Rowe, 11. Anthony Gordon, 14. James Garner, 16. Ben Johnson, 17. Curtis Jones, 21. Angel Gomes, 23. Noni Madueke
Substitutes: 20. Cole Palmer for Madueke 60’, 9. Cameron Archer for Gordon 60’, 6. Oliver Skipp for Gomes 70’, 19. Harvey Elliott for Smith Rowe 70’, 8. Jacob Ramsey for Gibbs-White 79’
Substitutes not used: 3. Luke Thomas, 12. Jarrad Branthwaite, 13. Josh Griffiths, 15. Charlie Cresswell, 22. Carl Rushworth
Goals: Gordon 16’, Smith Rowe 68’
Yellow cards: Johnson 45’, Jones 75’
Israel: 1. Daniel Peretz, 2. Karem Jaber, 5. Gil Cohen, 6. Omri Gandelman, 10. Oscar Gloukh, 11. Dor Turgeman, 12. Roy Revivo, 13. Anan Khalaili, 15. Eitan Azoulay, 20. Hisham Layous, 21. Stav Lemkin
Substitutes: 22. Ilay Hagag for Khalaili 46’, 9. Idan Gorno for Azoulay 59’, 16. Yoav Hofmeister for Layous 59’, 14. Oz Bilevi for Turgeman 76’
Substitutes not used: 3. Ziv Morgan, 4. Or Blorian, 8. Arad Bar, 17. Ayanaw Ferede, 19. Mohammed Abu Rumi, 23. Tomer Tzarfati
Yellow cards: Hagag 76’
Meet the MU21 squad