England U21 3-0 Poland U21: Three Lions ease into semi-finals with routine victory over ten-man hosts
Above: Lewis Baker celebrating Stephen Pond - The FA

England U21 3-0 Poland U21: Three Lions ease into semi-finals with routine victory over ten-man hosts

Goals from Demarai Gray, Jacob Murphy and Lewis Baker secured a 3-0 win over Poland.

Danial_Kennedy
Danial Kennedy

England's Under-21's have managed to ease their way into the semi-finals of the 2017 European Championships, with goals from Demarai Gray, Jacob Murphy and Lewis Baker giving them an easy win over a ten-man Poland side. 

Aidy Boothroyd couldn't have wished for a better start as Gray put them ahead after six minutes, The Three Lions continued to dominate for the rest of half with Nathaniel Chalobah, Alfie Mawson and John Swift all been denied by Jakub Wrabel

England continued to push for a second goals as the second period got under way with a decent chance for Swift before Murphy settled the nerves. Jan Berdnarek was given his marching orders in the final ten minutes, with Baker securing their passage with the subsequent penalty. 

 

Couldn't ask for a better start 

England came into this clash in desperate need of a win, as anything less than three points would take their qualification for the semi-finals out of their hands. 

Boothroyd made the ball choice of dropping star striker Tammy Abraham for Gray, but the Leicester City man repaid his faith with the opening strike. 

It was good work from Benjamin Chillwell to burst down the left before squaring it back for Gray, he decided to try one from 20 yards and he gave Wrabel no chance as it nestled into the far corner. 

Keeping the game competitive 

England weren't stopping there as Slovakia were trying to make them as nervous as possible as they took their own two-goal lead, Boothroyd's could have been coasting if not for the efforts of Wrabel. 

Their first chances in the 33rd minute came in quick succession, as James Ward-Prowse fired a corner into Chalobah but the keeper did well to put it behind. The chance from the subsequent corner was even better as Mawson was left unmarked to get the header away, but the young keeper did well to claw it away. 

Swift then had his own opportunity minutes later as he gets past two players before letting rip from 30 yards, it looked destined for the top corner but Wrabel once again flew across to produce a stunning save. 

 

Settling those nerves 

England came out for the second period knowing that they were still in the drivers seat, but knew that a second goal would be needed to settle the nerves and they continued to bombard the tournament's hosts. 

Ward-Prowse produced another excellent set-piece in the 54th minute as his excellent deep ball found Swift, the angle was against him at the back post and that was his downfall as he couldn't steer it on target. 

They nearly shot themselves in the foot in the 67th minute as Jordan Pickford played a horrific ball into Mawson, Krzysztof Piątek managed to nip in but he lost control at the crucial moment and the chance went begging. 

Nerves continued to jingle as the game entered the final 20 minutes, but those nerves were eradicated as The Three Lions added their second. 

Mawson redeemed himself just after his mistake as his clearance set off their counter-attack, Gray was on it as he sprinted down the left. The scorer played provider as he rolled it across goal and Murphy was waiting to fire home. 

 

Sealing their passage 

Despite having that breathing space England continued to press, and they were handed a great opportunity as they were handed a penalty in the 83rd minute. 

Substitute Abraham was causing trouble after just coming on as he ran into the penalty area, Bednarek brought the Chelsea youngster down and referee Harald Lechner had no choice to dismiss him and point to the spot. 

Baker managed to wrestle the ball out of the hands of Abraham which saw the pressure on him from the off, but he secured their last four position as he buried it low into the far corner. 

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