World News

England Under-21 2-1 Croatia Under-21: Player ratings as late goal dumps out Young Lions

Ross Jackson
Mar 31, 2021, 7:10 PM GMT+1
Aidy's team crashed out of the championship
Aidy's team crashed out of the championship | MB Media/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

England suffered late heartbreak as a 92nd minute goal dumped them out of the European Under-21 Championship despite their 2-1 win over Croatia.

The Young Lions were handed a glorious opportunity to take the lead when Eddie Nketiah was taken down in the area by Bartol Franjic with little over ten minutes on the clock. Eze stepped up and coolly slotted home the resulting spot kick.

Both sides had their chances in an entertaining contest, with Aaron Ramsdale forced to pull off a number of fine saves and Dwight McNeil twice hitting the woodwork.

With Croatia beginning to apply the pressure late on, Curtis Jones produced a stunning strike to hand England a 2-0 lead, though there was to be late heartbreak for Aidy Boothroyd's side as Domagoj Bradaric smashed home a long-range effort in injury time to ensure Croatia progressed at England's expense via their superior head-to-head goal difference.

That's the match highlights out of the way, now to those all important England player ratings...

England Under-21 player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

FBL-EUR-U21-ENG-CRO
Max Aarons on the ball | JURE MAKOVEC/Getty Images

Aaron Ramsdale (GK) - 7/10 - Produced a superb save shortly after the half hour mark to retain England's lead. Solid throughout and made some key stops at vital moments.

Max Aarons (RB) - 7/10 - Worked the channel brilliantly and was constantly looking to stretch the Croatia backline by playing the ball over the top.

Ben Wilmot (CB) - 6/10 - Looked to step into midfield whenever he could and subsequently helped to open the game up and beat the Croatia press.

Japhet Tanganga (CB) - 5/10 - The Tottenham man was moved into a central role having started at right-back against Portugal last time out. Looked a bit stiff and found himself scurrying back on a couple of occasions after being beaten all too easily.

Lloyd Kelly (LB) - 5/10 - Caught out at the back post in the first half and was lucky Croatia's wayward finishing meant he wasn't punished.

2. Midfielders

Curtis Jones, Marin Sverko
Curtis Jones impressed | Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

Curtis Jones (CM) - 8/10 - A first start of the competition for the Liverpool man. Offered some drive from midfield and was unlucky not to get himself on the scoresheet. Superb strike to hand England a two-goal advantage.

Oliver Skipp (CM) - 7/10 - The only midfielder to start all three England games in the tournament, and it's clear to see why. Neat and tidy in possession and won the ball back with a few timely interceptions.

Conor Gallagher (AM) - 5/10 - Caught overplaying in his own half and had to be bailed out by Ramsdale on a few occasions. Withdrawn with 20 minutes to play.

3. Forwards

Eberechi Eze handed England the lead early on
Eberechi Eze handed England the lead early on | Marcio Machado/Getty Images

Eberechi Eze (RW) - 9/10 - One of the coolest penalties you're likely to see as he handed England the lead. The liveliest player on the pitch, constantly driving at the Croatian defenders and causing them to recklessly dive into challenges. Could have scored a hatful on another day.

Eddie Nketiah (ST) - 7/10 - Good work from the Arsenal man to win England's penalty as he pressured the Croatia backline into a mistake. Kept the opposition busy and put a good shift in for the team.

Dwight McNeil (LW) - 6/10 - Struggled to impact the game as much as his frontline partners and found himself a little isolated at times. Nonetheless, his left foot was always a danger and he twice hit the woodwork.

4. Substitutes

Rhian Brewster came on with 20 minutes to play
Rhian Brewster came on with 20 minutes to play | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Todd Cantwell (CM) - 6/10

Rhian Brewster (ST) - 7/10

Steven Sessegnon (LB) - N/A

facebooktwitterreddit