Tuesday, October 17

Result: England Under-21s come from behind to keep Euro 2017 hopes alive

England come from behind to beat Slovakia 2-1 and move to the top of Group A at the Under-21 European Championships in Poland.

England came from behind to beat Slovakia 2-1 and move to the top of Group A at the Under-21 European Championships in Kielce this afternoon.

An opening goal from Martin Chrien left England's hopes of reaching the semi-finals hanging by a thread, with only one guaranteed spot in the last four available from each group.

However, Alfie Mawson and Nathan Redmond responded in the second half as England picked up their first win of the tournament to put themselves in control of Group A with one game remaining.

A goalless draw with holders Sweden in their opening match left England knowing that only a win would realistically keep their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive, but the game got off to a slow start with a number of robust challenges affecting the rhythm.

It was Slovakia who took the lead midway through the first half, though, as Chrien lost his marker from a corner and managed to loop a fine header over Jordan Pickford despite the ball arriving behind him.

Slovakia had themselves come from behind to beat hosts Poland in their first match, and England almost responded immediately in their quest to do the same when Lewis Baker fired a long-range strike narrowly over the crossbar shortly after the opening goal.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between for Aidy Boothroyd's side, though, with Jon Swift the next to have a sight of goal when he curled another effort from outside of the box off target.

Pickford was the busier of the two goalkeepers despite England enjoying the lion's share of possession, making a couple of routine stops before his opposite number Adrian Chivan was called into action for the first time when he tipped a James Ward-Prowse free kick behind.

There was more to shout about from an England perspective in the second half, though, and Chovan's first testing stop arrived shortly after the restart when Redmond's drive was kept out at the near post.

The resulting corner initially came to nothing, but half-time substitute Jacob Murphy put the ball back into the box and Mawson scrambled it home from close range at the second attempt after Chovan had failed to deal with his first effort.

Suddenly England sensed that Slovakia could be on the ropes and they pushed for a quickfire second, with Baker failing to pick out an unmarked Tammy Abraham in the middle before Murphy drew a comfortable save from Chovan.

Slovakia steadied themselves following a brief spell on the back foot, but their revival was short-lived and England did take the lead just past the hour mark when Redmond latched on to a brilliant pass from Ward-Prowse before cutting inside and firing a deflected strike into the far corner.

Chrien ballooned a long-range shot well over the crossbar moments later, but Slovakia failed to provide much of a response and England saw out the remainder of the game without any more major scares.

The victory is just England's second at an Under-21s European Championship since 2009 and leaves them knowing that another win over hosts Poland in their final group game on Thursday could see them through to the semi-finals.

Slovakia remain in the hunt themselves on three points, but realistically need to beat holders Sweden - also on Thursday - to stand any chance of qualifying.

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