Meet England’s Young Lions as they seek glory in the European Under-19 Championship final against Israel | Soccer News
England are through to the European Under-19 Championship final for the first time in five years.
It’s been a convincing campaign in Slovakia for the Young Lions as they look to recreate the success of the 2017 class. They topped their group with wins over Austria, Serbia and Israel before beating Italy in the semis. -final to maintain their perfect record en route to the final, conceding just one goal along the way.
How to follow on Sky Sports
You can follow England’s European Under-19 Championship final against Israel on Friday with Sky Sports’ dedicated live blog from 6pm; kick off at 7 p.m.
England face Israel in the final at the Anton Malatinsky Stadium in Trnava on Friday, hoping they can overcome this year’s surprise forfeit for the second time and claim the trophy. Israel’s previous best performance in this tournament was reaching the group stage, as England prepare for their fourth final in the competition, despite the Young Lions only winning the U19 Euros. once.
When the Young Lions last enjoyed success in the U19 Euros, the side that beat Portugal in the final included Mason Mount, Reece James and Aaron Ramsdale, all of whom became senior internationals for England under Gareth Southgate . Can this group of Young Lions follow in their footsteps?
England’s previous success in youth tournaments
- 2017 U20 World Cup winners (beating Venezuela 1-0 in the final)
- Euro U19 winners in 2017 (beating Portugal 2-1 in the final)
- Winners of the U17 World Cup in 2017 (beating Spain 5-2 in the final)
Players to watch
Carney Chukwuemeka (Aston Villa, 18)
Chukwuemeka has been England’s star at the Euros so far this summer, providing two goals and two assists in the group stage following his breakout season with Aston Villa. He has made 12 Premier League appearances this season, and his experience at senior level seems to set him apart from his contemporaries in Slovakia.
The Austrian-born midfielder has posed a real threat going forward, with his last few runs in the box often ending in a goal or an assist for the teenager. Chukwuemeka’s imposing frame coupled with his tight ball control makes it almost impossible for rivals to ignore him on the ball inside the box. And his goal in the 4-0 win over Serbia – heading the ball past the goalkeeper with a side effort – showed he’s no slouch when it comes to finishing.
Who is England U19 boss Ian Foster?
Foster was part of Steve Cooper’s England U17 coaching staff in 2017 when they won the World Cup in India. He was then given the role of England U18 manager during a period of schedule disruption due to Covid-19, but oversaw a record seven wins and two draws in nine games and was later promoted to U19 manager.
The coming season promises to be important for Chukwuemeka at Villa as manager Steven Gerrard must convince the teenager, who has one year left on his contract, that he will get the playing time he feels he deserves. There is reportedly interest in the midfielder from Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Alfie Devine (Tottenham, 17)
Midfielder Devine became Tottenham’s youngest player and goalscorer in an FA Cup third round tie against non-Championship side Marine in January 2021 aged 16 and is making waves during of this summer’s tournament in Slovakia. His second-half goal against Austria in the opener of the group stage was the pick of the pack for England at this summer’s U19 Euros. He also demonstrated his ability to deliver from set pieces, with his outgoing corner allowing Alex Scott to equalize in Tuesday’s semi-final against Italy.
Devine has a contract until 2024 at Spurs and would be highly valued by head coach Antonio Conte. Reports suggest he could be ready for a loan next season as Spurs look to replicate a similar path to that of Troy Parrott and Oliver Skipp, who spent time at MK Dons and Norwich respectively.
Dane Scarlett (Tottenham, 18)
Tottenham striker Scarlett is England’s joint top scorer in the tournament with two goals, alongside Chukwuemeka, after scoring twice against Serbia in the second group game. The 18-year-old has been England’s go-to striker so far at the Euros and is set to start against Israel on Friday, having done so in three of the opening four matches.
Jose Mourinho gave Scarlett his Premier League debut against West Brom in February 2021, with the former Spurs boss saying: “I wanted to be the one to put him in a Premier League game.” The teenage striker signed a new contract with Spurs in May which keeps him at the club until the summer of 2026. He has made seven first-team appearances during the campaign.
Harvey Vale (Chelsea, 18)
Vale, a highly regarded Chelsea academy midfielder, captained England in three of the four Euro matches this summer. It was his corner that led to the winner against Italy in Tuesday’s semi-final with just eight minutes to play.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel handed Vale his senior debut in December 2021 in the EFL Cup quarter-finals, as he started in a 2-0 win over Brentford.
Aaron Ramsey (Aston Villa, 19)
Villa midfielder Ramsey – brother of Jacob – spent the season on loan at Cheltenham Town in League One, scoring and assisting once in 15 appearances. The 19-year-old, who together with Chukwuemeka and Tim Iroegbunam form a trio of Villa players in midfield, operated as a No.10 in Slovakia. He was unlucky not to score in the first 2-0 win over Serbia, hitting the post in the second half.
Road to the final
Final classification of group B
England 2-0 Austria – Sunday 19 June (Group B)
England started their campaign with a 2-0 win over Austria thanks to goals from midfielders Carney Chukwuemeka (43) and Alfie Devine (65) either side of half-time. Aston Villa’s Chukwuemeka opened the scoring after a one-two with Tottenham’s Dane Scarlett, finishing easily after a reduction from the striker. It was Chukwuekmeka in the thick of things for the second goal after some neat footwork allowed him to launch Spurs’ Devine to fire his powerful effort into the top corner of the net.
England manager Ian Foster was delighted to see his side cross the line after what he described as “a slower performance” in the 29 degree Celsius heat. But he said that’s to be expected with his team at different fitness levels due to different regular season schedules.
England 4-0 Serbia – Wednesday 22 June (Group B)
England began to come into their own in the second game as they beat Serbia for four to confirm their place in the semi-finals of the competition while securing their qualification for next year’s U20 World Cup. Scarlett opened her account for the tournament with two goals against Serbia (5.40). Chukwuemeka doubled his tally in Slovakia with a fresh finish in the bottom corner (68), before Sheffield United striker Daniel Jebbison (90+1) made it 4-0 in stoppage time from the bench.
Scarlett described it as the “perfect” performance, while manager Foster said he was “proud of the players” for qualifying for the 2023 U20 World Cup and reaching the semi-final.
Israel 0-1 England – Saturday 25 June (Group B)
With qualification already secured, Foster made seven changes for England’s final group game against Israel and the Young Lions managed to maintain their perfect record with a 1-0 win. Manchester City striker Liam Delap – son of former Stoke defender Rory – scored the game’s only goal six minutes later as he blasted a powerful effort past Israeli keeper Tomer Zarfati into the roof fillet.
Foster said his team could have been more ruthless, but added: “If someone had offered me nine points, three clean sheets, no injuries, no suspensions, I would absolutely have bitten your hand.” Match winner Delap said after the match that England could “100%” win the tournament, as he praised the “unity and spirit around the camp”.
England 2-1 Italy – Tuesday 28 June (Semi-final)
Tuesday’s semi-final against Italy was the biggest test of the tournament for England. England managed to survive an early scare to come from behind and beat the Italian 2-1 in a dramatic win to secure their place in the final against Israel. Italian midfielder Fabio Miretti, already a member of Juventus’ senior team, gave Italy the lead from the penalty spot (12). But England came back into the game with two headers from a corner kick by Bristol City midfielder Alex Scott (58) and Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah (82) in the second half.