England sealed their place in the semi-finals of the U21 European Championships for the first time since 2009 with a convincing 3-0 win over hosts Poland as they topped Group A.
Only a victory would guarantee the Young Lions a place in the final four, and they got off to the perfect start when Leicester City’s Demarai Gray broke the deadlock with a deflected effort from 25 yards after only six minutes.
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Aidy Boothroyd’s side proceeded to dominate the first-half but they weren’t able to extend their advantage until after the restart when substitute Jacob Murphy completed a classic counter-attack just as Poland were beginning to grow in confidence.
Poland were reduced to 10 men late on when Jan Bednarek felled substitute Tammy Abraham inside the area, and Lewis Baker stepped up to confidently dispatch the penalty and wrap up a comfortable win.
England will now contest the semi-final in the Tychy Stadium on Tuesday, June 27, but they will have to wait until Group C is concluded before finding out who their opponent will be.

TALKING POINT

Aidy's bold call pays off: Eyebrows were raised as Aidy Boothroyd made the bold decision to drop Chelsea's Tammy Abraham, with Demarai Gray featuring in his place. But his decision was vindicated after only six minutes when the Leicester talent gave England the perfect start. The youngsters thrived in the 4-3-1-2 system deployed by the former Watford manager and his team were a constant threat throughout a one-sided match.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Lewis Baker (England) – The Chelsea midfielder oozes class. His calmness in the centre of the park was contagious. Kept possession comfortably, was always a threat and grabbed the goal his performance deserved.

PLAYER RATINGS

England: Pickford 5, Holgate 5, Chambers 6, Mawson 7, Chilwell 7, Chalobah 6, Ward-Prowse 8, Redmond 6, Baker 8, Swift 7, Gray 7. Subs: Stephens, Abraham 7, Murphy 6, Hughes 6.
Poland: Wrabel 7; Moneta 5, Kownacki 5, Frankowski 5, Murawski 5 Linetty 6; Jaroszynski 5, Jach 5, Bedernak 5, Kedziora 5; Piatek 6. Subs: Stepinski 5, Lipski 5, Niezgoda 5.

KEY MOMENTS

5’ - ENGLAND SHOULD SCORE! Ward-Prowse delivers a high cross to the Poland penalty spot. Mawson is unmarked but somehow heads it wide of the goal.
6’ - GOAL, ENGLAND DO SCORE! It's Demarai Gray who breaks the deadlock, and in some fashion too! Chilwell cuts inside from the flank, passes it to his Leicester team mate who unloads from 25 yards and into the corner of the net.
31’ - ENGLAND CHANCE! Redmond forces a corner for England. It's sent into the heart of the penalty area where Chalobah rises highest. The ball hits off a Poland defender before Wrabel makes a brilliant reaction save. Another corner to follow...
31’ - ANOTHER FINE SAVE! Dreadful defending from the hosts once more as Mawson is left unmarked from the subsequent corner but again Wrabel makes a fine one-handed save to deny England their second.
35’ - GREAT SAVE! Poland's goalkeeper Wrabel is enjoying a fine night, even if his team mates aren't. This time he's at full stretch to keep out Swift's curler from 25 yards.
69’ - GOAL! England double their advantage! It's the substitute Murphy who grabs the game's all-important goal as he finishes an England counter-attack move. Gray had carried the ball forward with immense speed and he unselfishly squared it for Murphy who was left with a tap-in.
80’ - ENGLAND WIN A PENALTY! Great strength and feet from Abraham as he bulldozes his way inside the Poland penalty area but then he's hauled down by Bednarek. The referee has no choice other than to point to the spot, and brandish a second yellow card to the Poland defender.
82’ - GOAL! Baker hammers the penalty into the top corner, giving Wrabel no chance! Game, set and match - England are cruising to the semi-final.
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