UEFA U-21 Euros: England masters of their own downfall as they draw 3-3 with Croatia


In the last fixture in Group C, England faced Croatia with both team’s playing for pride. An underwhelming two fixtures for the sides have left them on zero points.

England kicked off the encounter that will be both teams last fixture.

Croatia had a chance early on from a corner with Sandro Kulenovic’s header tipped over the bar by Dean Henderson and the second corner wide of the goal.

The first five minutes saw England dominate possession, but it was Croatia who had the only chances up to that point to score.

In the eigth minute, Croatia had a free-kick with Branimir Kalaica connecting with a header. However, his header was way off target.

In the 11th minute, England opened the scoring. Reiss Nelson won a penalty after being taken down after trying to skip past the Croatian defender and subsequently scored the spot-kick into the bottom right corner.

Croatia tried to respond as quick as they could. Josip Brekalo made a darting run down the wing and fired his cross across the face of goal. However, his crossed didn’t reach any of his teammates.

Demarai Gray took a long range shot after he received a pass from Lloyd Kelly with the forward’s shot going well wide of the goal.

Nikola Vlasic took a long range shot in the 24th minute for Croatia, but his shot was saved comfortably by Dean Henderson.

In the 36th minute, Gray received a through ball and had a good opportunity to make it 2-0. Gray though hit his at the post.

Croatia levelled up the game at 1-1. Brekalo had the ball on the wing and cut inside and fired his shot into the top corner with a thunderbolt of a strike.

Just before half-time England Phil Foden benefitted from some great build-up play the ball when the ball fell to him and was able chest the ball down and shoot the ball goal-wards. In a difficult first half, his effort was easily saved by Ivo Grbic.

The referee blew the whistle for half-time. Even though England scored early on, Croatia had equalised and the score stayed 1-1 with the players going into half-time all square.

Croatia kicked off the second 45 minutes of the match, with both sides still looking for a win.

In the 48th minute, England went back into the lead. Nelson crossed the ball which didn’t see any England players getting on the end of the ball, the delivery was cleared and it fell to James Maddison who took the shot on and scored to make it 2-1.

After a mistake from Kelly who gave the ball away, the ball fell to Sandro Kulenovic who passed it onto Vlasic who curled the ball into the right corner to equalise the game for Croatia at 2-2.

Good movement from England saw Kelly cross the ball into Tammy Abraham whose shot went over the bar after a poor attempt.

England took the lead again in the 70th minute. A corner came in and the clearance came to Jonjoe Kenny who took a few touches and fired a perfect shot into the top corner.

In the 71st minute, Gray had another chance to shift the ball which he did. His shot went well over the bar.

In the 82nd minute, Brekalo scored his brace after a poor clearance from the English defenders. Croatia were able to break effectively with Brekalo slotting it between Henderson’s legs to make it 3-3.

The referee blew his whistle for full-time with the score finishing an amazing 3-3 draw. Croatia and England were set to fly home after this game as they had no chance of qualifying for the semi-finals and both bow out of the tournament with a draw.

Team Line-ups

England: Dean Henderson; Jonjoe Kenny, Jake Clarke-Salter (c) (Ezri Konsa 49′), Fikayo Tomori, Lloyd Kelly; Phil Foden, Kieran Dowell (Mason Mount 56′), James Maddison (Morgan Gibbs-White 73′); Demarai Gray, Tammy Abraham, Reiss Nelson. 

Croatia: Ivo Grbic; Filip Uremovic, Branimir Kalaica, Nikola Katic, Marijan Cabraja (Domagoj Bradaric 76′); Nikola Moro, Ivan Sunjic (c), Nikola Vlasic (Luka Ivanusec 66′); Lovro Majer, Sandro Kulenovic, Josip Brekalo.


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