Leicester City star Demarai Gray scored the opener in the sixth minute as England U21s defeat Poland U21s to qualify for the semi-finals of European Under-21 tournament.
Goals from Demarai Gray, Jacob Murphy and a late penalty from Lewis Baker showed that England are real contenders to win a second international tournament of the summer after an impressive performance against the host Poland.
This Under-21s are not showing any sign of complacency and are now 180 minutes from potentially conquering Europe. Calm, confident and clinical, they deserve the chance to dream.
It was not supposed to be an easy task but after the Under-20 side’s World Cup-winning exploits this month, there is now a sense that anything is possible having seemed down and out at half-time of their second match, against Slovakia.
Aidy Boothroyd said: ‘I believed we could get to the semi-finals, the delighted Under-21 head coach. ‘And we have got there. We have gone from being one of the best 12 to one of the best four. The plan is to be one of the best two and then, hopefully, the best one. We are improving.’
The Young Lions silenced the noisy home crowd when Jordan Pickford drilled a 60-yard pass out to Ben Chilwell, who in turn found his club-mate – but the passes split Poland in two and Gray did the rest, by firing a shot that zipped past Jakub Wrabel with the aid of a deflection.
‘The early goal settled us, Hopefully we can improve but this was an outstanding performance,’ Boothroyd said.
Boothroyd had opted to give Gray, who is considering his future at Leicester due to less playing time, his first start in the tournament in attack alongside Nathan Redmond after deciding not to risk Tammy Abraham from the start.