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Published 25 May 2023 5 min read
Men's Elite League Squad

England MU20s qualify for last 16 of the U-20 World Cup

Written by:

Frank Smith

Bashir Humphreys, Alfie Devine and Darko Gyabi all score for the Young Lions as they defeat Uruguay 3-2 at La Plata Stadium in Argentina

England men’s under-20s booked their place in the last 16 of the FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 3-2 victory over Uruguay.

The Young Lions kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 win over Tunisia on Monday night and goals from Bashir Humphreys, Alfie Devine and Darko Gyabi ensured they made it two-from-two on Thursday night in Argentina.

With the top two and four best runners-up from the six groups progressing to the round of 16, and two groups being in a situation where the third-placed side could only now receive a maximum of four points, it means the MU20s progress with a game to spare.

Head coach Ian Foster made just one change to the side which kicked off their U-20 World Cup with a 1-0 win over Tunisia on Monday night, as Leeds United forward Mateo Joseph came in for Sam Edozie.

The first half was a largely even affair when it came to the statistics but it was England who were the more clinical in attack, in front of a passionate and vocal ground inside La Plata Stadium.

The Young Lions took the lead midway through the first half as, moments after goalkeeper Matthew Cox saved Luciano Rodriguez’s shot, Devine’s excellent in-swinging corner was headed into the bottom corner by Humphreys.

England MU20s players celebrate Bashir Humphreys' goal
England MU20s players celebrate Bashir Humphreys' goal

England were set to head into the break happy with their first half but they ended up walking down the tunnel delighted, as a pass from Joseph in the fourth minute of injury-time released Devine and his low drive nestled into the bottom, far corner to make it 2-0 at the interval.

Uruguay fought back early in the second half though as Cox was unable to gather Matias Abaldo’s shot and Franco Gonzalez was there to apply the rebound. 

Initially, it was ruled out for offside but after the use of VAR, referee Marco Antonio Ortíz Nava announced to the crowd the goal would stand to make it 2-1.

England responded well though, as both Dane Scarlett and Joseph had wayward efforts from distance in quick succession.

It was end-to-end stuff and Uruguay had a VAR appeal for a penalty turned down soon after.

Alfie Devine impressed for England MU20s, scoring one and setting up another against Uruguay
Alfie Devine impressed for England MU20s, scoring one and setting up another against Uruguay

Uruguay continued to search for a way back into the match until the very end but in the fifth minute of injury time, Gyabi made sure of the victory as he dribbled into the box and curled a low shot into the bottom corner to make it 3-1.

The action wasn’t finished there though, as Uruguay scored a second goal with one of the final touches of the match in ninth minute of additional time, as Cox was unable to hold a long-range effort in the wet conditions and Abaldo sent the rebound off the crossbar into the top corner.

England MU20s will now look to conclude Group E with a victory over Iraq on Sunday evening, with kick-off again at 7pm BST.

England: 1 Matthew Cox (Brentford), 4 Alex Scott (Bristol City), 5 Bashir Humphreys (Chelsea), 6 Jarell Quansah (Liverpool), 7 Alfie Devine (Tottenham Hotspur), 9 Dane Scarlett (Tottenham Hotspur), 11 Harvey Vale (Chelsea) (c), 14 Darko Gyabi (Leeds United), 15 Ronnie Edwards (Peterborough United), 18 Mateo Joseph (Leeds United), 21 Daniel Oyegoke (Brentford)

Substitutes: 20 Daniel Jebbison (Sheffield United) for Joseph 63’, 16 Imari Hines-Samuels (Brighton & Hove Albion) for Devine 90+6’

Substitutes not used: 12 James Beadle (Brighton & Hove Albion), 13 Teddy Sharman-Lowe (Chelsea), 8 Xavier Simons (Hull City), 17 Sam Edozie (Southampton), 19 Liam Delap (Manchester City)

Head coach: Ian Foster

Goals: Bashir Humphreys 22’, Alfie Devine 45+4’, Darko Gyabi 90+5’

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