Penalty agony for Blues duo in U21 Euros semi

Tuesday, 27 June, 2017 67comments  |  Jump to most recent
Mason Holgate and Jordan Pickford both played in England's U21 European Championship semi-final against Germany that ended in defeat on penalties.

The duo played their part as England made a strong start but fell behind when the Germans took control of proceedings and scored through Davie Selke 11 minutes before half time.

The striker planted an unchallenged header beyond Pickford's reach to make it 1-0 but England hit back shortly afterwards from James Ward-Prowse's corner which eventually to Demarai Gray to sweep impressively into the roof of the net.

England took the lead early in the second half when they capitalised on an error by Serge Gnabry at the back, new Watford signing Will Hughes crossed for Tammy Abraham and the Chelsea forward slotted home.

Germany retained control of the game, however, and were back level with 20 minutes left from a corner of their own. Felix Platte rose easily above Holgate at the near post to steer a header past Pickford to make it 2-2.

Slack work in the defence by England then gifted a great chance to Germany but Pickford made an excellent stop well off his line and the new Toffees 'keeper had to make another stop seconds later to push a long-range shot over the bar.

When the two teams couldn't be separated after 90 or 120 minutes, the match had to be decided by a dreaded shootout in which Pickford gave the Lions an advantage when he saved a penalty at 1-1 but Abraham missed the following kick.

The Germans were faultless from 12 yards after that and Nathan Redmond's miss at 4-3 meant that the game ended in all-too familiar fashion for England.


Reader Comments (67)

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Tim Rydings
1 Posted 27/06/2017 at 18:08:41
James Ward-Prowse has put more free kicks and corners 'on the button' in the first half than we could manage all season! Showing us all how easy it can be. Why do all our players struggle with such a skill?
Jay Wood
2 Posted 27/06/2017 at 18:30:29
Been thinking all tournament we could do with a player of Ward-Prowse's ability to consistently deliver excellent delivery from dead ball situations.

Don't forget, Koeman will know this player very well from his Southampton days, so if he doesn't put him on his shopping list, it will be for good reason.

Alternatively, Koeman may not be a manager Ward-Prowse wants to work under again. Who knows?

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 27/06/2017 at 18:31:36
Holgate just beaten at the near post for Germany's tying goal.
Bob Skelton
4 Posted 27/06/2017 at 18:33:15
I'm afraid Holgate is being found out now.
Mike Gaynes
5 Posted 27/06/2017 at 18:38:19
Calum Chambers certainly is. Hopeless man-marker. Hopeless.
Chris Williams
6 Posted 27/06/2017 at 18:40:10
I'm not sure what happens to English players from U20 to U21.

The younger team was consistently good to watch, playing attractive football, but this team is not as good to watch, very physical, playing long ball and on the break.

They don't deserve to win this one.

Peter Hughes
7 Posted 27/06/2017 at 18:40:31
Not overly impressed with Pickford here!
Tony McNulty
8 Posted 27/06/2017 at 18:56:15
Our new keeper must feel like he's back playing for Sunderland.
Kieran Kinsella
9 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:01:42
Chris Williams

One thing Martinez was right about is that in England we have a problem developing players in the 20-23 year range. Not sure of the root cause but it's been that way for a long time as so many good 18-year-olds fall behind their foreign peers.

Chris Williams
10 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:04:56
Kieran it's certainly an issue here. They seem to have been de-skilled compared to their younger counterparts.

A lot bigger and stronger though. Maybe that's a part of it. Score well from set pieces mind.

Kieran Kinsella
11 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:12:04
By way of comparison, in the US, college football feeds the NFL. There are many college superstars who get passed over for the NFL generally due to not having "football brains" or physique. Maybe similar issue? E.g. The types of players we afford time to as kids?
Mike Oates
12 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:23:20
Holgate is not a right back and never will be. I doubt if the lad will make it in any defensive position in the Premier League. He is just not alert enough, he is far too passive.
Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:40:07
Brilliant pen save by our new keeper.
Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:44:43
But England out on pens. Again.
Kunal Desai
15 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:44:56
Germany and pens yet again.
Jay Wood
16 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:46:09
England v Germany, penalty shoot-out:

Result, never in doubt!

Nigel Munford
17 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:47:01
My thoughts entirely, Jay.
Kunal Desai
18 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:47:47
The mental block at any level appears to be as bad as Everton going to the RS and getting 3 points
David Barks
19 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:49:46
In other news, water is still wet, gravity will cause you to fall to the ground if you jump from the top of a building, and it will rain at least one day every year in England.
Jay Wood
20 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:50:09
Ah well, let's take a look at Sandro and Del Boy in the other semi against Italy.
Trevor Lynes
21 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:52:43
The Germans had 38 efforts on goal with 9 on target during the match. They also had 69% possession. It would have been a smash and grab if we had won it on pens!!

Why is it that we have such poor ball control when compared to foreign players? The basics of football coaching is ball control and passing accuracy. Every top play maker in the Premier League is foreign, this is ludicrous. I reckon we are just developing hard-working drones, we need much more skill.

Colin Glassar
23 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:54:36
I love the way the English pundits somehow think losing a semi-final is somehow beneficial to the young English players in the long run.

We've won sweet FA since 1966 because we've developed a loser mentality. Give it your best and all that shit. Fuck off, I'm tired of this loser bullshit.

Phil Bellis
24 Posted 27/06/2017 at 19:56:25
The difference a year makes... Clones of the first team; compared to the U20s, this team are laboured, static, unadventurous, predictable...

Oh buggar it... Germany once more!

Peter Mills
25 Posted 27/06/2017 at 20:02:20
Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose.

In German.

Terry Underwood
26 Posted 27/06/2017 at 20:08:11
If you watch foreign football on TV, then watch ours, it is like watching the Derby followed by a 5 furlong seller for three-legged pigs. Our kids seem to get coached to death early on. Basically, we ain't good enough.
Karl Jones
27 Posted 27/06/2017 at 20:09:57
Fitness and stamina levels are terrible compared to the Germans. Tammy hardly gets past walking pace and still looks knackered.
Phil Bellis
28 Posted 27/06/2017 at 20:16:52
Well, she carries a fair bit of weight, up top.

(Coat retrieved)

Colin Glassar
29 Posted 27/06/2017 at 20:19:11
And the Germans had two days less rest, Karl, but our lot were knackered after the first half.
Tom Bowers
30 Posted 27/06/2017 at 20:26:12
Never fails does it. As soon as I knew they were to play Germany, I feared they would ultimately lose no matter how good the English lads were. The only other team I feared was Italy.

We can beat these guys in nothing games but, when something is on the line, we have no success.

Mark McParlan
31 Posted 27/06/2017 at 20:39:33
I agree with the comments at #1 and #2; I thought James Ward-Prowse was absolutely outstanding for England today. He bossed the midfield, worked hard, never lost the ball, and was quick and effective when operating on the right wing. And his set-pieces were splendid, a marvel to behold. That's corners, free kicks, penalties, the lot. If they had more competent forwards there, he would have more assists.

I checked his Wikipedia. He's 22, and has played for Southampton 170 times, with more than 140 Premier League appearances. You don't play for a club consistently playing in the top half of the table for 4 seasons without being decent.

Considering that Koeman worked with him for a year before joining us, does anyone see him as a younger, English, and potentially cheaper alternative to Sigurdsson?

Peter Mills
32 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:00:13
Pickford was not to blame for either of the goals, but still made me think he has some mistakes in him. That's fair enough for a young goalie, but Goodison will be expecting a £30m 'keeper, it can be an unforgiving place, I hope it is not too harsh on him.

It will be if he plays those 6-7 yard passes to Jags or Williams, who will definitely not welcome them.

Joe Foster
33 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:02:30
Pickford's distribution is very good.
Mike Gaynes
34 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:07:46

Just got a serving of Sandro. Explosive dribble through three defenders.

He is going to be fun to have around.

Joseph Terrence
35 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:20:20
Bernardeschi is quality. He would look good in a blue shirt.
James Marshall
36 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:30:03
This Spanish side is impossibly brilliant – they'd have swept England aside in the final. Class all over the field.
Mark Morrissey
37 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:32:25
It was claimed at the start of the match that there was talk today of Real Madrid looking to gazump Everton for Sandro Ramirez and I see we have taken the link off ToffeeWeb for Sandro?
Peter Mills
38 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:34:27
Sandro is playing a very unselfish game.
Dermot Byrne
39 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:35:30
Huge paranoia, Mark. All will be fine.
Mike Gaynes
40 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:37:35
Joseph, so would Saul Niguez. What a player.
Chris Gould
41 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:38:25
Really impressed with Sandro's movement and workrate. That sort of effort can inspire teammates to work harder.

That Saul is some player.

Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:40:42
Both Geri and Sandro did well today.
Mark Morrissey
43 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:43:19
I was all fine with it, Dermot, until the commentator said that.
Dermot Byrne
44 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:50:23
Feel the new vibe, Mark, and enjoy!
James Marshall
45 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:55:22
Saul & Ceballos, both quality – Sandro looks quick off the mark, and has a lovely touch, great movement, gets his head up, unselfish and always looking to get a shot off.

They have some lovely balanced footballers in that Spanish side. They're going to be a handful when they reach the senior side this lot.

Clarence Yurcan
46 Posted 27/06/2017 at 21:59:14
What's more predictable than England losing in a major tournament on penalities?
Steven Jones
47 Posted 27/06/2017 at 22:48:46
James Ward-Prowse is not good enough for EFC. Ross is miles ahead in terms of output and has more potential. I really hope Ross stays... total class act.

Now that we have better recruits around him, he can flourish and be given more space and less pressure for total creativity on his shoulders. Despite creating more chance across Europe last season than any other 23-year-old player, he is accused of being inconsistent. Brainless route for me.

We really need to be more objective about Ross and let him develop nicely over the next two years whilst the rest of the team pull their finger out.

Kev and Rom not only miss chances – they do not see other players around them (ie, selfish). With Klaassen, Sandro creating threat, dynamism, assists, team vision and goal scoring, Ross would be a huge success in the space they create.

I say sell Rom, keep Ross (and Geri for that matter) and buy two more strikers (Mousa Dembele and Iheanacho). Throw Lucas Lima (Santos) in for creative midfield depth and we would be in real business.

John Pierce
48 Posted 28/06/2017 at 00:16:02
Let's get it right – Germany utterly deserved to win that, forget the shoot-out, a criminally desperate tactical goof from Boothroyd is mostly to blame here.

On going 2-1 up in about the 49th-minute he openly mouthed to the team 4-5-1. What ensued was awful, with no leaders on the pitch the team deepened in their position and the wide midfielders played as full backs the back four packed across the 18-yard box.

Germany waltzed through and missed a plethora of chances to finish the game.

Not even in Extra Time did the stance change. Truly shocking.

Holgate done again at marking his man; Pickford, albeit at U21 level, is starting to make me sit up.

He has played well, super confident and comes for everything. Catches when under no pressure, punches when coming through traffic. Very nice.

Danny O'Neill
49 Posted 28/06/2017 at 00:50:06
Scratched record time. It all starts at grass roots. Having lived in Germany, the smallest of village teams will have first rate facilities. A clay pitch for training and junior matches; you don't "get stuck in" or "get rid" on clay, you learn to stay on your feet and pass the ball in order to keep possession.

Once old enough or for prestigious matches, they move to the club pitch; normally well kept professional level turf. Also, they are coached by coaches, not dads with good intent; parents in the main are kept away from the pitch side and coaching sessions.

Our kids play on shitty mud-filled neglected recreation grounds. This promotes a culture of hoof ball because in winter months it is nigh on impossible to play football. Unqualified parents coach their lads and lasses teams and parents demand (dictate) team selection and then aggressively goad from the sidelines, often encroaching on the field of play.

The only comparable facilities are saved for the elite; look at St George's – who ever gets to play on that? We build the roof first rather than the foundations. No house I know of is built in that way.

Finally, we are obsessed with results at youth level rather than development. This promotes favour of powerful fast players at the age of 14 because they are fast and powerful, not necessarily the best footballers, they just win matches at that state because they are fast and powerful.

Better players fall by the wayside because they don't get to play and lose interest. We are left with fast and powerful (but not very technical or creative) players. Yes football is about winning, but I guarantee that in Holland and Germany, no one is bothered about winning the Harrow U12 League Cup (substitute that for Dusseldorf or Utrecht).

We don't focus on development and that is why we continuously get undone technically further downstream. I remain convinced Messi would never have made it had he been English because he was "too small and lightweight".

Rant over. Looking forward to next season and who cares about England? I don't!!

Rokas Grajauskas
50 Posted 28/06/2017 at 00:52:24
I honestly would not put that much hope in Ross Barkley. After all, he is a product of the same football environment that brings England down when the youngsters reach the latter stages of their development.

Perhaps it's related to the physical traits of the kids and demands of the national league – how many times have you heard the cliche phrases about the Premier League being "the most physically demanding league in the world" and the "dancing with the ball" trait, attributed to nearly all of the southern countries?

It does seem like Brittish kids have the advantage over their opponents until a certain age, when the technically superior kids, raised closer to the equator, start to mature and catch up in strength and agility.

But on the other hand - England U20 became the World Champions and the Enagland U21 lost in the European semifinals, when the only reasonable difference between the squads was the number of young lads playing for Everton (5 > 2).

Jokes aside, it is a huge compliment to the wonderful work that Rhino has been doing and to the work ethic that the Blues instill in their academy members. Nothing is granted to you, nothing, but the best will do.

Looking from aside it also seems that English players encounter huge amounts of pressure on the national level and it did manifest itself quite obviously when they fell behind in the game against Iceland (or, basically, any other elimination game that they lost in the past 50 years).

That's where all the penalty losses are coming from – none of them are used to being the underdogs, and the sheer possibility of it keeps on mentally destroying them through all these generations. Has England ever won a penalty shoot-out in an international tournament on ANY age-level?

Oh, and I also have one more question – since Everton have been the champions of England nine times, would the next league trophy give them the golden star next to their logo? Since I only thought of it a couple of days ago, I realised that I haven't really noticed whether British clubs use this tradition. That would certainly be a "who's who?" moment, wouldn't it? Where's your Golden star, Chelski? Tottenham? Man City? Oh, well, at least (hypothetically) NOW the people are starting to take notice.

Even though I'm just 28 years old, I do shiver at the thought, that I could literally not see this moment in my entire life. And since I didn't really follow Everton when I was six, I still hope to see any type of trophy secured by the Blues. At least a bloody League Cup, at this point I am not that picky anymore.

Greetings to all fellow blue-noses! Mark my words, this is the season that we will remember for the rest of our lives, for it's a Grand Old Team to support, and we have been waiting for far too long. The Sleeping Giant shall awake and shake the world. It is our time!

Mark Andersson
51 Posted 28/06/2017 at 02:40:36
I agree with Danny O'Niel – who cares about England.

If I were Koeman I would give all English players a swerve, they lack the winning mentality once the come of age.

Only kidding we need to keep Ross he is the future of everything blue and England, oops there I go again getting sarcastic.

If and it's a big IF Sandro is singed, then maybe I will get excited for next season. Other than that, I think it will be more of the same, another 7th-ish finish, maybe do a bit better in the cup's.

David Ellis
52 Posted 28/06/2017 at 02:57:30
Rokas – yes, England have won penalty shoot outs (as have Everton) when it matters. Against Spain in 1996 Euro Quarter finals for example.

I think the comments about coaching kids may be a bit out dated. I have kids and the are trained at school to play from the back, they have professional coaches and it's all about player development – not winning. I don't know how widespread that is but in my experience its a total change from the days of my youth.

Also, the Everton U23s coming through seem technically better than their predecessors. They all seem to be two footed and have excellent control. Ironic that David Unsworth is in charge as these were not his strongest qualities as a player. His right foot was for standing on only and the left foot for hoofing.

Eric Paul
53 Posted 28/06/2017 at 08:39:01
Danny O'Neill,

Absolutely spot on, the big strong match winners at 10 years old are rarely playing at 16 because other kids have caught up speed and strength wise and found them out.

George Cumiskey
54 Posted 28/06/2017 at 10:18:42
Danny@49 – spot on, mate. I lived in Holland for a while and the facilities are miles ahead of this country. Nobody cares about grassroots level, not the FA, not the premier league and certainly not the government.

As long as the money keeps rolling in, nobody cares, they will just keep signing better technically gifted players from abroad. The same goes for the management and backroom staff less technically gifted – just look at Southgate!

Peter Gorman
55 Posted 28/06/2017 at 10:32:36
Reading some of the comments bemoaning the lack of player development in the country, I almost forget the U20s won their World Cup a few weeks ago.
Stan Schofield
56 Posted 28/06/2017 at 10:38:33
George, spot on. Even when I was a kid in the 60s, facilities and coaching seemed sparse, and it doesn't seem to have improved much.

I recall being inspired by the great Everton side in the late 60s, particularly superb ball players like Harvey. Although not very good at football, I worked on ball skills, inspired by the likes of Harvey. I worked on shooting with my left foot (I'm right-footed), and doing loads of keep-ups. Alan Ball was also an inspiration in that respect.

Anyway, I got to the point where I could do more with a ball, rather than just booting it up the field. I used all this playing in Stanley Park with my mates. But when it came to playing in a proper team, whether at school or elsewhere, whenever I tried anything 'fancy', the shout would go up to get the ball up the field, booting it preferably. Fancy stuff wasn't appreciated.

It was apparent then why teams like Brazil were so much better than us. Although Everton's football was fantastic, it was a rarity at the time, standing out, especially in the 68-69 season.

Unless we encourage real skills at a young age, and have facilities to help this, our national team will always be mediocre.

John Newman
57 Posted 28/06/2017 at 10:38:38
England are always rubbish at penalties. I am 36 and cannot remember many we have won. We very rarely beat zee Germans.

I still to this day remember when we beat Germany 5-1 only to wake up the next day to see a paper had published the headline Liverpool 5 Germany 1.

I never thought it could get any worse only now I know it can, cue the Nivea adverts... Aaaaggghhhh!!!

Stan Schofield
58 Posted 28/06/2017 at 10:43:21
Peter, yes, with four Everton players. Trouble is though, it seldom carries over to the senior level. There's still a problem with technique compared with some other countries. I think the current focus on 'pressing' in the Premier League may be a symptom of technique mediocrity.
Colin Glassar
59 Posted 28/06/2017 at 11:10:27
So Holgate is being made the scapegoat for England's defeat yesterday? If I was an Everton player I'd tell the FA to stuff their team. Chillwell (whatever his name is) was equally as bad yesterday but not a peep from the media.

Mason was poor (out of position) but so were the rest bar Hughes.

George Cumiskey
60 Posted 28/06/2017 at 11:29:02
Peter @55,

Cases in point: Onyekuru, Deulofeu, Klaassen ,and the new young Dutch kid, and hopefully Sandro.

John Newman
61 Posted 28/06/2017 at 11:33:19
The Premier League is so lucrative these days, I think clubs have been more than happy in the past to gain success by means of a quick fix.

Training kids to the standard required in today's game costs a lot of money and time... I think time being the most important aspect of this topic. Clubs want to win now! And at any cost.

George Cumiskey
62 Posted 28/06/2017 at 11:36:23
I wish Everton would have had a good look at Will Hughes, he could be one of the few to go on to better things.
Dave Abrahams
63 Posted 28/06/2017 at 11:48:49
Danny (#49), that wasn't a rant, it was simply the plain truth.
Ray Roche
64 Posted 28/06/2017 at 12:09:37
George, I think Hughes has just signed for Watford. We were strongly linked with him a year or so back but he sustained a serious ACL injury which kept him out for 6 months. Pity, looks a decent player.
David Currie
65 Posted 28/06/2017 at 21:31:58
Steven (#47), I agree with you about Ross and would like him to stay. I think he would be better playing with the likes of Sandro rather than Lukaku, as the Spaniard works harder, better movement and technically better than Rom.
Stan Schofield
66 Posted 28/06/2017 at 21:32:45
The bottom line is that, overall, England have been shite for donkey's years. I gave up on them when Howard Kendall and Colin Harvey didn't get picked.

The Premier League is also fairly shite, despite all the bullshit from our 'pundits' about how good it is. They've blurted this nonsense for decades.

The drubbing of Arsenal by Bayern was a demonstration of the quality gap, and of course we're even worse, but not much worse.

I can't imagine the Premier League would ever get to the levels you see from Barça and Real Madrid, unless something drastic is done to change our system, but heaven knows what that would be.

Barry Connor
67 Posted 28/06/2017 at 22:02:03
Stan (#66),

Pretty much agree with everything you say.

As it happens, I think you will find that, although Kendall never won a single cap for England, Colin Harvey was given one appearance in a vital friendly game against mighty Malta!

What a waste when the could have conquered the world (again) either the "Holy Trinity" in midfield.

Stan Schofield
68 Posted 29/06/2017 at 07:48:55
Barry, the fact that England didn't take the opportunity to use arguably the best midfield trio in the world at the time suggested to me as a teenager, and still suggests, a problem with how the England set-up thinks about football.

Imagine the battle between them and Gerson, Rivelino and Cloadolaldo in that 1970 World Cup game against Brazil!

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