- End of 2nd Half
- 2nd Half
- 1st Half
- Eze (P)12'
Croatia U-21 - England U-21
Follow the U-21 Euro live Football match between Croatia U-21 and England U-21 with Eurosport. The match starts at 17:00 on 31 March 2021.
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Full-time: Tanganga blazes the ball over the bar and that will be that. England crash out of the Under 21 European Championships at the group stages despite this 2-1 victory over Croatia.
England should have a corner but the referee signals for a goal-kick - the ball clearly hit the goalkeeper last.
England have to score again. Eze is over a free-kick and England bring everyone up to contest the delivery...
- GoalDomagoj BradaricCroatia U-21
GOAL! Croatia 1-2 England (Domagoj Bradaric): Heartbreak for England! Boothroyd's men pay the ultimate price for allowing Bradaric too much space to have a shot from distance. And what a fine strike it is, straight into the top corner, leaving Ramsdale with no chance. England, as it stands, are going out.
FIVE minutes to be added on here! Plenty of time for Croatia...
England sub: McNeil takes his time as his number goes up and on comes Steven Sessegnon.
- Yellow cardMihael ZaperCroatia U-21
Yellow card! England's bench are enraged as Zaper goes in dangerously on Cantwell. He's booked.
- OffMarin SverkoCroatia U-21
- OnPetar MusaCroatia U-21
Double Croatia sub: Musa and Divkovic replace Sverko and Vizinger. England fans, how are your nerves?
- Yellow cardJaphet TangangaEngland U-21
Yellow card! Tanganga goes into the book for time wasting.
England, it has to be said, look very comfortable at the moment. It's all about game management now.
Here's the moment that could make the difference for England...
Do England stick or twist? Croatia have 10 minutes to find a goal and a way back into the competition.
- OffKristijan BistrovicCroatia U-21
- OnLovro MajerCroatia U-21
Sub: Bistrovic makes way for Majer - it's all or nothing now for Croatia.
Wow, who saw this coming? This is turning out to be quite the night for Boothroyd and his young side.
- GoalCurtis JonesEngland U-21
GOAL! Croatia 0-2 England (Curtis Jones): That's the goal they needed! England, as it stands, are going through to the quarter-finals! Brewster is immediately involved, lifting a cross into the middle. McNeil takes it down and tees up Jones, who, on his first start of the tournament, smashes the ball into the corner!
Double England sub: Nketiah and Gallagher make way for Rhian Brewster and Todd Cantwell.
A chance for Croatia! It's a rare foray forward, with Ivanusec leading the charge on the break. He feeds it to Moro, but scuffs his shot wide. That's a reminder to England that they need to be remain vigilant defensively.
Goal update: Portugal are out of sight now, they lead Switzerland 3-0.
Ramsdale is forced into action! The shot from distance takes an awkward bounce in front of the Sheffield United goalkeeper but he keeps his eye on it all of the way and does well to push it wide.
Croatia sub: Colina replaces Spikic and Zaper comes on for Babec. A tactical re-jig.
England hit the post! Agonising! McNeil whips his free-kick around the wall and is denied only by the woodwork.
Yellow card! Spikic goes into the book for a high foot, conceding a free-kick in a threatening area into the bargain.
Goal update: Portugal have doubled their lead against Switzerland, with Trincao grabbing the goal. Great news for England, but they still need another goal here!
Nketiah registers another shot on target, but again Kotarski gathers it fairly comfortably.
England are doing well to maintain their energy levels as Gallagher races to the by-line and pulls it back across the face of goal... but no one is there in white to meet it.
Jones heads over from McNeil's cross, but he had his arms all over the Croatian defender and the referee signals for a free-kick rather than goal-kick.
England chance! Nketiah should do much better! The high press is effective as England win the ball in a dangerous area. Eze's beautifully-weighted pass releases Nketiah, but he fails to generate any power in his shot and Kortarski makes a comfortable save without having to move.
Jones carves inside and curls a shot towards goal. It takes a wicked deflection and ends up behind for another England corner.
Over! England are well on top at the moment and Tanganga has a chance to double their advantage with a back post header, but he can't direct it on target.
Save! England win a free-kick, 25 yards out in a central position. And it's a lovely effort from Eze, who wraps the ball around the wall and Kotarski has to scurry across his goal to push it away.
Croatia goalkeeper Kotarski takes a dreadful first touch, Nketiah is immediately onto the case and charges down his clearance. It could end up anywhere - it ends in a throw-in.
- Yellow cardCurtis JonesEngland U-21
Yellow card! Jones throws himself to ground under very little - if any - contact, but he's not fooling the referee, who books him for simulation.
England start the half on the front foot and win a corner on the left flank. McNeil floats it in, but Croatia stand firm defensively to clear.
- 2nd Half
Kick-off! England get the ball moving in the second-half!
- End of 1st Half
Half-time: England lead at the break. As it stands, with Portugal currently beating Switzerland, the Young Lions need one more goal without reply to progress.
- Yellow cardDomagoj BradaricCroatia U-21
Yellow card! Bradaric is adamant he's won a corner, but the referee signals for a goal-kick and he talks himself into a booking.
Wide! Croatia continue to apply pressure, winning a corner, and Vizinger's effort at the near post drops wide.
Gallagher is there to make a headed clearance from Croatia's free-kick.
Yellow card! Kelly goes into the book for a cynical foul on Bistrovic and England have a dangerous free-kick to deal with on the stroke of half-time. There will be THREE minutes of added-time to play.
There's a stoppage to allow Nketiah and Vuskovic to receive treatment after their heads collided. Both will be OK to continue.
England go close! Eze, excellent as usual, switches it out wide to Jones, who cuts inside and drills a low shot just wide of the far post.
Croatia should score! They're really banging on the door here. England are the makers of their own undoing as they give the ball away while trying to play out of defence. Ivanusec steals in to intercept Tanganga's pass, he's just the goalkeeper to beat but Ramsdale makes himself big to deny Croatia an equaliser!
Shot! A nervy moment in goal for Ramsdale, who spills Ivanusec's shot from distance. It should have been comfortable for the England goalkeeper, but it was anything but.
No penalty! Eze is upended by Sverko inside the penalty area, and that looks more of a spot-kick than the one England got earlier! But the referee allows play to continue.
Croatia miss a sitter! Oh my, what a chance! Ivanusec beats Aaron and gets his cross in - England's defenders are ball watching - Spikic is left unmarked but blazes his first-time shot well over the bar from point-blank range. A huge let-off for England!
Impressed with Gallagher's positional awareness. He is going about his work quietly, helping to break up Croatia's attack and he's having a fine game so far.
Croatia appeal for a handball inside the England box following a throw-in. Skipp makes the interception and hacks the danger clear. The referee isn't interested.
England go direct as a long ball is played into space. McNeil and Nketiah are on the chase but the ball has just too much pace on it and Kotarski collects.
McNeil has looked really bright on the left flank and he's torturing Sverko. The Burnley wideman gets another cross in but this time it's too close to the goalkeeper, who collects.
Croatia deal with the whipped free-kick delivery, though. So far, so good from an England point of view.
The referee gives England a cheap free-kick on the left flank as McNeil goes over easily following contact from Sverko. When your luck is in...
Just a reminder then that England need another goal without reply to have any chance of progressing. They also need Portugal to hold on to their lead over Switzerland. There's a long way to go but the Young Lions have hope now.
- Goal by penaltyEberechi EzeEngland U-21
GOAL! Croatia 0-1 England (Eberechi Eze, pen): Up steps Eze and he tucks it home confidently, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. England are ahead on a massive night!
- Yellow cardLuka IvanušecCroatia U-21
Penalty to England! Nketiah is brought down by Franjic inside the box and is booked for doing so, as the referee points to the spot. It's a really soft one, but England won't care!
England go close! This is much, much better from the Young Lions. They take a short corner, Jones takes control and curls a shot that looks destined for the top corner. It doesn't dip enough as it moves agonisingly over the bar.
McNeil gets the ball out of his feet as he drives down the left flank before delivering a low cross to the near post, forcing the corner.
The flag stays down as England's centre-backs are caught sleeping. Vizinger makes a run in behind but scuffs his shot closer to the corner flag than goal. That's an early warning for Boothroyd.
England deal with a free-kick delivery floated in from the right. A draw, as it stands, is enough for Croatia to progress from the group.
Goal update: Portugal have taken the lead against Switzerland! That is great news for England. Now they just need to do their bit...
If England are to achieve the required two-goal winning margin tonight they will need Eze to be at his best. He could be their best hope.
Croatia don't possess the attacking threat that England do (on paper, at least) but they are a well organised unit and will prove difficult to break down.
- 1st Half
Kick-off! The players take a knee before Croatia get us underway!
The National Anthems...
FIVE minutes until kick-off! It's Croatia versus England in this crunch Under-21 European Championship Group D clash. It's LIVE and it's NEXT!
TEN minutes until kick-off! Big game for England, this.
It is 37 years since England last won this tournament and earlier this week Boothroyd described it as the 'impossible job'. The likes of Trent Alexander Arnold, Jude Bellingham, Fhil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Reece James and Mason Mount are eligible for the squad and yet are all in the senior team (with the exception of TAA), so does Boothroyd have a point?
It was a very forgetful performance from the Young Lions as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat to Portugal last time out.
It's now or never for Boothroyd.
TEAM NEWS IN FULL - Croatia XI: Kotarski, Sverko, Vuskovic, Franjic, Bradaric, Ivanusec, Moro, Babec, Bistrovic, Spikic, Vizinger.. subs: Semper, Nevistic, Colina, Erlic, Nejasmic, Kulenovic, Majer, Zaper, Krizmanic, Divkovic, Vuk, Musa /// England XI: Ramsdale, Aarons, Tanganga, Wilmot, Kelly, Skipp, Eze, Gallagher, McNeil, Jones, Nketiah.. subs: Bursik, Griffiths, S Sessegnon, R Sessegnon, Cantwell, Brewster, Madueke.
Just the seven changes in total then. After seeing his side fail to register a shot on target from open play in the first two games, Boothroyd is going to experiment.
Once again Boothroyd rings the changes. The biggest talking point is perhaps the absence of Ben Godfrey, who was excellent in the defeat to Portugal. He drops out of the squad completely, as does Emile Smith Rowe, Tom Davies and Marc Guehi. Ben Wilmot comes into the side, Japhet Tanganga moves inside to partner him at centre-back, while Lloyd Kelly replaces Steven Sessegnon at left-back. After impressing as a second-half substitute, Ebere Eze is handed a starting berth in midfield, alongside Sam Gallagher. Dwight McNeil is also restored to the team and Curtis Jones is handed his first start of the tournament.
It's crunch time for England's Under 21 side. The Young Lions must beat Croatia by two clear goals and hope that Portugal defeat Switzerland in the other Group D game to qualify. We will have LIVE text commentary and kick-off is just an hour away! Can Aidy Boothroyd pull off a minor miracle and guide his team to the quarter-finals?