Portugal U21s 2-0 England U21s: Players ratings as Young Lions suffer damaging defeat

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Mar 28, 2021, 10:06 PM GMT+1
Portugal deserved the three points
Portugal deserved the three points | JOE KLAMAR/Getty Images
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England Under-21s need a small miracle to qualify for the knockout stages of the European Championship after Portugal inflicted a damaging 2-0 defeat on Sunday evening.

Portugal enjoyed the better of the first half with the Young Lions having to rely on several pieces of heroic defending to keep the scores level going into the break. They eventually got the breakthrough just after the hour mark, hitting England with a slick counter-attack that was finished calmly by Monza forward Dany Mota.

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Mota was a standout performer was Portugal | JOE KLAMAR/Getty Images

Portugal doubled their lead from the penalty spot with 15 minutes to go. Marc Guehi was the man penalised for stepping on his opposite number's foot inside the box and Francisco Trincao finished emphatically from 12 yards.

The result means England can only qualify from Group D if Portugal beat Switzerland and they defeat Croatia by three clear goals on Wednesday.

Here are your Young Lions player ratings from Ljubljana...

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

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Tanganga started after missing out on England's opener | JOE KLAMAR/Getty Images

Aaron Ramsdale (GK) - 5/10 - Made a few solid, if not entirely convincing, saves early on. Little he could do about either goal.

Japhet Tanganga (RB) - 4/10 -
Looked cumbersome on the ball, surrendering possession on multiple occasions. Defending was not brilliant at times as well.

Ben Godfrey (CB) - 6/10 -
Made several vital interceptions in the first half, one of which saved a certain goal. His team's most reliable defender.

Marc Guehi (CB) - 5/10 -
The penalty was pretty harsh but his challenge was naive. Before that he had been okay, although he did not always look after the ball in possession.

Steven Sessegnon (LB) - 4/10 -
His contribution in the final third was negligible with Portugal having no problem preventing him from getting onto his favoured right foot. Needed to do much more.

2. Midfielders

Tom Davies, Francisco Trincão
Davies was one of the more experienced players in the England ranks | Marcio Machado/Getty Images

Tom Davies (CM) - 5/10 - The ideas were there but his execution left a lot to be desired. The tempo of his passing was lacking.

Oliver Skipp (CM) - 5/10 -
Put in a decent defensive shift, winning five of his eight ground duels. In possession he was predictable and stale.

Emile Smith-Rowe (AM) - 6/10 -
England's most dangerous player in the first half. He completed two key passes and drew a few fouls. Unlucky to be substituted at the break.

3. Forwards

Noni Madueke
Madueke will be disappointed not to have made more of an impact | Marcio Machado/Getty Images

Noni Madueke (RW) - 5/10 - A few bright moments when he managed to cut inside onto his left foot. Sometimes tried too hard.

Eddie Nketiah (ST) - 4/10 -
Battled well in the air, winning each of four aerial duels. Largely starved of service though, failing to registering a single attempt on goal.

Ryan Sessegnon (LW) - 4/10 -
Poor. He was a real passenger throughout and did not complete any of his five crosses.

4. Substitutes

Eberechi Eze
Eze came on at half time | Marcio Machado/Getty Images

Eberechi Eze - 5/10 - Added some spice to the England attack early on in the second half but he soon ran out of steam.

Conor Gallagher - 5/10 -
Tried hard but nothing broke for him.

Dwight McNeil - 5/10 -
Should have come on much earlier. Game was over minutes after he arrived.

Rhian Brewster - N/A

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