After two rather innocuous draws the England U19 team have qualified for the semi-finals of the European U19 Championships in the Ukraine.
Nile Ranger – another England goal for this lad
And our own Nile Ranger was on target during England’s 7-1 hammering of Slovenia yesterday.
After 2 points from their first two games against Switzerland (1-1) and Ukraine (2-2), England need the win to qualify and they were five goals up at half time, before Ranger, who came on on as a 69th-minute substitute, scored his fifth goal at the U19 international level.
Newcastle’s 16 year old attacking midfielder Haris Vuckic was in the squad for Slovenia, but was suspended and unfortunately didn’t play in the game.
England will now be bidding for a place in the final when they take on France on Thursday, with Serbia and hosts Ukraine in the other semi-final.
England U19s Head Coach and former Newcastle coach Brian Eastick paid tribute to his players who finished top of Group A.
Eastick has not been happy that so many players have been withdrawn from the tournament by their clubs, as he said after the game:
“It’s a great achievement so far and it is for any team to reach a semi-final of a major international competition like this,”
“That’s great credit to all of the players involved here and we now go onto the next stage where the bar will be raised again.”
“I have to say I’m disappointed that many of the players which we put on our list of 30 have been denied the opportunity to experience it by their clubs.”
“A few injuries meant that several of them would have been able to do so and that playing in top level competitive games can only help in a player’s overall development rather than pre-season friendly games.”
“We named four central defenders in our list of 30, but none of them could come with us, which has left us in the situation we’re now in,”
“It isn’t ideal, but I’ve been pleased with the way the players have responded and we’re now looking forward to the semi-final and we’ll see if a few of the injuries can clear up for the game.”
We’ll have to hope these youngsters can make the final, and then be mentally tough enough to win that game too, with hopefully Nile playing in both games.
Unlike the England U21 side who were taken apart by Germany 4-0 in the recent U21 finals in Sweden.