Sweden U-21s 0-1 England U-21s: Lingard strike hands Young Lions vital victory

first_img Jesse Lingard celebrates A stunning strike from Manchester United youngster Jesse Lingard gave England’s Under-21s a 1-0 win over Sweden and boosted their hopes of making the knockout phase of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.It had looked like a case of being same old, same old, as the Young Lions put in a pedestrian display against opponents who were more than happy with a draw after winning their tournament opener.Gareth Southgate’s side were nowhere near their best but, with time running out, Lingard was able to collect a half-cleared corner and volley home past Patrik Calgren, who got a glove to the shot.The victory ensures England’s destiny is in their own hands going into their final group match with Italy, but there will need to be improvements to a side who lacked ideas.The game was tense throughout with the pressure created by a 1-0 loss to Portugal on Thursday telling, but there were moments of promise.A stunning through ball from Will Hughes to Nathan Redmond after 17 minutes offered a glimpse of what the Young Lions can do as the battled for supremacy in an edgy encounter, while Harry Kane struggled to find space as a swarm of Swedish stars blocked his path to goal.Tottenham star Kane then came close to scoring as he stretched to his fullest to meet a superb Carl Jenkinson cross with a diving header, but the ball flew just the wrong side of the upright.Seconds later Derby County playmaker Hughes was denied magnificently by Filip Helander’s sliding block as he shot from Alex Pritchard’s excellent pass inside the area.Spritely Spurs youngster Pritchard then dazzled again with another dribble into the box but the stoic Swedes once again had Patrik Calgren’s goal well defended.With James Ward-Prowse dropped from the team, England lacked threat from set-pieces and this was most evident when Kane’s tame, dipping free-kick from a promising position was easily claimed by Calgren.Meanwhile, Isaac Kiese Thelin saw his header saved by Jack Butland as Sweden offered a rare foray forward.After the break, Danny Ings was brought on for Hughes to offer Kane more support in the final third but Southgate’s side were hit with a blow eight minutes in to second period with Pritchard forced off through injury.His replacement, Manchester United youngster Jesse Lingard struggled to get into the match as England’s slow and sloppy showing was comfortably dealt with by the Swedes, who shocked Italy in their first match of the tournament.And England’s opponents nearly grabbed a lead when Ben Gibson almost turned the ball into his own net at a corner, which Liam Moore conceded after being bullied by ex-Manchester City striker John Guidetti as he attempted to shepherd the ball out of play.No matter what Southgate’s side tried it looked like they would be frustrated but, with just five minutes remaining,  Lingard produced a moment of magic to send his volley curling in off the outside of his boot to give the Young Lions a vital victory. 1last_img

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