European Under-21 Championship: Croatia stun England, France reach quarter-finals

By Sports Desk March 31, 2021

Croatia ended England's European Under-21 Championship campaign in dramatic fashion as they joined Denmark, France and Portugal in qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Portugal finished top of Group D with a 100 per cent record, a convincing 3-0 result against Switzerland making it three wins from three during their campaign in Slovenia.

Diogo Queiros gave his country a third-minute lead and while the Swiss pushed hard for a response, they conceded twice in the space of five second-half minutes to end their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

Barcelona forward Francisco Trincao doubled the advantage for Portugal, who then quickly put the game out of reach thanks to Francisco Conceicao.

England also appeared set to progress when leading 2-0 as their game with Croatia entered added time in Koper on Wednesday.

Following Eberechi Eze's early penalty, Curtis Jones produced a crisp low finish in the 74th minute to leave England on course for just the result they needed to wrap up second place.

However, Domagoj Bradaric changed the scenario completely – and in some style, too. His left-footed drive from long range gave goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale no chance and meant England had little time to respond. Instead of ending up in second, the result means they finish bottom of the table.

Group C did not quite provide the same level of drama, Denmark sealing top spot as they eased to a 3-0 victory against Russia, meaning they finish on nine points.

Jacob Bruun Larsen and Anders Dreyer were on target in successive first-half minutes, while Carlo Holse rounded out the scoring in the closing stages for Denmark, who did not concede during the round-robin stage.

France, meanwhile, were 2-0 winners against Iceland thanks to first-half goals from Matteo Guendouzi and Odsonne Edouard.

Les Bleus will meet Netherlands in the knockout phase when the tournament resumes at the end of May, while Denmark will go up against Germany.

Spain are due to face Croatia and Portugal will tussle with Italy in the other side of the quarter-final draw.

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