Photograph by Danny Lewis
Friday 16 June June 2017
Under 21 Euros Group Stage
Kielce City Stadium
Sweden U21 0-0 England U21
This was a typical tournament opener. It was a cagey affair, with both teams looking as though they were focusing on avoiding defeat, rather than going for the win. However, Sweden could have easily taken all three points and would have done if it wasn’t for a penalty save from Jordan Pickford ensuring that the game ended 0-0.
The match started very slowly with both teams finding their feat in the tournament. There were a couple of half chances but it was Paweł Cibicki who had the first clear cut scoring opportunity, which came in the 28th minute. The move started when the Swedish attacker’s trickery got him past Ben Chilwell and Nathan Redmond on the left. He then cut in, played a one-two with Gustav Engvall before unleashing a shot that went just over the bar.
England gave the young Swedes a few scares following on from that. Jacob Murphy came close with a strike from long range, while an acrobatic effort by Tammy Abraham from a long throw in from Mason Holgate whistled just over the bar.
However, neither goalkeeper was really tested in the first half and the sides went into the break with the game goalless.
It was Sweden who had the better start to the second half. The closest they got to translating this into a goal was when Cibicki, who had already given England a scare, did so again as his 57th minute effort crashed into the crossbar.
England had chances of their own though. A Ben Chilwell shot from outside the box was deflected onto the bar, while a free kick from James Ward-Prowse forced a good save from Anton Cajtoft.
However, the best chance of the game came in the 81st minute. Sweden were awarded a penalty when Chilwell slid in on Sweden right back Linus Wahlqvist. The man who won the penalty took it and attempted to dink the ball down the middle. Despite diving to his left, Pickford was able to get a strong hand to the ball and push it wide.
Both teams had half chances after this but nothing that posed any real danger. The final whistle went, signalling the end of the game at 0-0. This leaves the two teams 2nd and 3rd in the group following Slovakia’s 2-1 win over Poland in their opening game. England face Poland in their next game, while Sweden will face off against Slovakia.
PLAYER RATINGS (out of 10)
Sweden U21 (4-4-2)
Cajtolft (7); Wahlqvist (5), Larsson (8), Dagerstål (7), Lundqvist (6); Tibbling (7) (Tanković (N/A) 85), Olsson (6),Hallberg (7), Fransson (6) (Mrabti (5) 73); Engvall (5) (Strandberg (6) 59), Cibicki (7)
England U21 (4-3-3)
Pickford (8); Holgate (7), Chambers (7), Mawson (8), Chilwell (6); Baker (5), Chalobah (7), Ward-Prowse (6); Murphy (6) (Gray (5) 70), Abraham (7), Redmond (6),
MAN OF THE MATCH
He may not have been called upon too many times during the game, but he was there for his team whenever they needed him. He did especially well to save Wahlqvist’s penalty once he had dived past it. He made a tiny error from a Sweden cross, but Holgate was there to bail him out.