MX23RW : Saturday, July 20 03:44:43| >> :600:128885490:128885490:
Jun 18, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at ​Stadion Miroslava Valenty, Uherske Hradiste
England U21sEngland Under-21s
0-1
Portugal U21sPortugal Under-21s
FT(HT: 0-0)
Mario (57')

Live Commentary: England Under-21s 0-1 Portugal Under-21s - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text commentary of the European Under-21 Championship match between England and Portugal.
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England Under-21s slipped to a 1-0 defeat against their Portuguese counterparts in their opening match of the European Under-21 Championship this evening.

Joao Mario scored the only goal of the match with a close-range finish after Bernardo Silva's shot had come back off the post.

England pressed for an equaliser, but they were unable to find a way past Jose Sa, as their tournament started on a losing note.

Find out how the action unfolded below.


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Hello everyone! Our coverage of this year's Under-21 Championship continues with the second Group B clash of the day. There are high hopes for England and Portugal and both countries will be looking for a positive start to their tournaments with a win this evening.

The team news is in, so let's waste no time and check out which players will be starting when the match finally gets underway.

ENGLAND XI: Butland, Jenkinson, Moore, Gibson, Garbutt, Ward-Prowse, Chalobah, Carroll, Redmond, Lingard, Kane

PORTUGAL XI: Sa, Esgaio, Ilori, Oliveira, Guerreiro, Sergio Oliveira, Carvalho, Mario, Silva, Cavaleiro, Ricardo

So, that's how our teams will be starting in Uherske Hradiste this evening. As expected, the England attack is led by the in-form Spurs striker Harry Kane. Jesse Lingard and Nathan Redmond will join him in a front three, with Danny Ings beginning the night on the bench. However, they will have to make do without Saido Berahino, who has been ruled out of the tournament through injury.

Further back, there are spots in the midfield for James Ward-Prowse, Tom Carroll and Nathaniel Chalobah, while Luke Garbutt comes into the defence in place of the injured John Stones. Meanwhile, Portugal start with Ivan Cavaleiro and Ricardo Pereira in their forward line, with Bernardo Silva just behind them in the playmaker role.

England cruised through their qualifying group and they won nine of their 10 games to reach a playoff against Croatia. They then claimed a 4-2 aggregate victory to seal their place in the Championships for the fifth-tournament running.



It was also a stroll in the park for Portugal in their qualifying group, as they won all eight of their matches to book a playoff clash with the Netherlands. The Esperancas earned a 2-0 win in the first leg, before winning a 5-4 thriller in the return to end their eight-year tournament hiatus.

I mentioned that both of these teams are heavily fancied to win the tournament this year, with only Germany seen as the bigger threat. That's no surprise given the calibre of players that each team has on the pitch and a number of these players should go on to have great careers with their countries.

I suppose I should mention England's most talked about striker, Harry Kane. The Tottenham Hotspur forward has had a sensational season and he scored 31 goals for his club, as well as finding the net on his international debut for the senior England side against Lithuania in March.

England were dealt a blow earlier today, with Saido Berahino being ruled out of the tournament through an injury that he picked up in training on Wednesday. He was the top scorer in qualifying, netting 10 goals in 10 games, and he also bagged 20 for West Brom last season. Benik Afobe has been called up to replace him, while Danny Ings is also capable of making the difference for England and his fine displays for Burnley have earned him a move to Liverpool.

It's not just England who have quality in their team, as the Portuguese have plenty of match-winners in their side. Midfielders Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes are both capable of creating and scoring goals and they have impressed for their club sides over the past year.

KICKOFF! The national anthems have been played and we are now underway at the Stadion Mirosava Valenty!

England show their attacking intent from the start with a good move that picks out Redmond down the right. The Norwich winger then whips in a fantastic low ball right across the six-yard box, but none of his teammates were there and the Portuguese are able to clear.

The Young Lions are looking dangerous in these early stages and Carroll slips a threaded pass through to Kane. The striker then takes a touch and fires in a shot which is saved by the keeper, but the linesman belatedly raises his flag for offside so it wouldn't of counted had he scored.

SAVE! Down the other end of the pitch Portugal threaten and Esgaio whips in a cross from the right to the near post that Moore touches towards his own goal, but Butland reacts well to get across and push the ball to safety.

This is a really open game at the moment, with neither side taking control or dominating the possession. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few goals too, as both defences have looked a bit suspect.

SAVE! Redmond has been lively in these early stages and he is picked out in the middle of the box, before quickly firing a strike goalwards. His effort is pretty much straight at Sa, but the keeper gets everything behind the ball to beat it away for a corner.

SHOT! It really is end to end at the moment and Portugal threaten again with Silva picking the ball up inside the England half. He then charges towards the edge of the box and drills in a low strike which is far too close to Butland, who makes a relatively simple stop.

SHOT! The Portuguese work another opening, as Oliveira is found in acres of space on the edge of the box. The midfielder then goes for goal with a first-time strike, but he is leaning back as he hits the ball and hammers it into the stands.

SHOT! This would have been some goal had it found the net. Redmond slips the ball into Lingard, who is 20 yards out from goal and the Manchester United player fancies his chances. He then fires in a powerful effort that has the keeper beaten, but ends up going narrowly over the bar.

We've seen some wonderful play from both teams already and England put together a great move with Redmond getting in down the right. The winger then looks to pick out Kane in the middle, but his cross is well cut out by the Portuguese defence.

Although there have been no goals this evening, it has been a really good watch between two teams who are playing positive attacking football. I would be very surprised to see the scoreline stay this way, given the quality of players that are on the pitch.

The game has just settled down over the past few minutes and it seems that the players are taking a bit of a breather after such a frantic start. It's England who are seeing most of the ball, although they have struggled to pick out the runs of Kane.

SAVE! Kane shows his threat for the first time this evening as he picks the ball up outside the box and hammers in a powerful strike. His effort looks headed for the bottom corner, but Sa is across his goal quickly to turn the ball behind.

CLOSE! Kane is getting closer and he tries his luck again from a similar position to his last strike. This time he goes for the opposite corner, but he can only drill his low effort inches wide of the target.

CHANCE! Ilori has a half-chance for Portugal when he rises highest to meet a free kick from the right. His shirt is being tugged as he makes contact with the ball and in the end he can only flick a header wide of the far post.

SHOT! Cavaleiro almost creates a chance out of nothing as he raids down the left and cuts into the box. He then works some room and looks to fire a strike into the top corner, but he gets it all wrong and lashes the ball well wide of Butland's goal.

CLOSE! England have got into some great positions, and following a fine run, Chalobah picks out Lingard on the edge of the box. He then gets the ball onto his right foot and looks to bend a shot into the far corner, but his effort edges just a few inches wide of the post, with Sa diving at full stretch.

There will be just one minute of stoppage time at the end of this first half.

HALF-TIME: England 0-0 Portugal

It's half time at the Stadion Mirosava Valenty and England and Portugal have headed into the break on level terms. There has been plenty of excitement and a number of decent attempts, but we still await the first goal of the evening.



Here's the vital statistics from the opening 45 minutes. It has been rather even in terms of possession, but Portugal are slightly ahead after seeing 53% of the ball. The Portuguese have also had one more shot than England, with 10 attempts on their opponents goal, although both teams have managed just two efforts on target apiece.

Earlier today in Group B, Italy and Sweden faced off in Olomouc. The Azzurri had taken the lead in that match, but Sweden battled from behind to win 2-1, with both teams finishing the game with 10 men. That puts Sweden in charge of the group, with only two teams advancing to the semi-finals.

England take the kick off for the second half and get the match back underway!

SAVE! Redmond fired in a couple of decent efforts in the first half and he has the first chance of the second. He is found by Kane on the right, before dipping inside onto his left foot and belting in a powerful strike. Once again, it is straight at the keeper, who palms away the strike, before quickly gathering the loose ball.

YELLOW CARD! Gibson picks up the first booking of the match for a foul on Pereira.

YELLOW CARD! Silva quickly follows Gibson into the referee's notebook after bundling over Lingard. It has also given England a free kick in a very promising position around 25 yards out from goal.

CLOSE! Ward-Prowse steps up to take the resulting set piece and he looks to curl an effort towards the left-hand corner of the net, but his strike goes agonizingly wide of the post. Sa was well beaten there and he would have been helpless if that had found the target.

SUBSTITUTION: The first change of the match is made by England, who bring on Hughes in place of Ward-Prowse.

CHANCE! The chances keep coming from both teams, but we are still waiting for our first goal of the evening. This time Guerreiro comes close with a fierce shot from the edge of the box, but it ends up going wide of the far post.

GOAL! England 0-1 Portugal (Joao Mario)

We do have the first goal of the match and it's Portugal who find the back of the net. Silva should have scored when he latched onto a deflection inside the box and placed a close-range effort against the post. The rebound then fell perfectly for Joao Mario, who made no mistake to slot the ball into the empty net to give his side the lead.

Portugal have got their heads up now and they quickly put together a flowing move that sees them win a corner. The resulting set piece is then cleared to Joao Mario on the edge of the box, but the goalscorer hammers the ball into the stands.

YELLOW CARD! Jenkinson is the latest player to be shown a card for a foul on Joao Mario.

CHANCE! Joao Mario has been at the heart of everything good from Portugal in this second half and he charges down the right before delivering a teasing cross into the middle. Pereira arrives to meet it, but he can't make clean contact with the ball and ends up glancing a header wide.

This is a real waste. England win a free kick just outside the box and they get plenty of men up to await the delivery. Garbutt then takes the set piece, but he completely overhits the ball and it goes harmlessly behind.

Kane has not been too involved in the second half, but he springs into life with a low drive from range that deflects wide for a corner. The Tottenham striker then rises to meet the resulting set piece and heads an effort across goal, but Sa is there to claim and safely hold on.

England really haven't made the most of set pieces this evening, as they win another free kick out wide on the right. Garbutt goes over to take it again, but once more his delivery is poor and he strikes the ball straight into the wall.

SUBSTITUTION: It's a change for Portugal, with Medeiros coming on for Cavaleiro.

SUBSTITUTION: England are also going to change things around, as Ings comes on for Lingard.

SHOT! Medeiros looks to make an immediate impact from the bench as he goes across to take a free kick. He gets plenty of power on his strike towards the top right corner, but it was always going off target and Butland watches on as the ball flashes comfortably wide.

SUBSTITUTION: Changes for both teams here, as Mane replaces Pereira for Portugal, while Pritchard is on for England in place of Carroll.

SAVE! Pritchard's first involvement in the match almost leads to a goal, as he does well to pick out Kane inside the box. The striker then fires a powerful effort goalwards, but he hits it straight at the keeper, with Sa managing to hold on.

YELLOW CARD! Joao Mario picks up a card for a foul on Ings.

SHOT! England have created plenty of decent chances to score tonight, but as things stand they are heading for a defeat. On this occasion Ings tries his luck from range with a fierce attempt, but it flashes a few yards off target.

SUBSTITUTION: Portugal make their final change of the evening, with goalscorer Joao Mario heading off to be replaced by Neves.

SHOT! Portugal are seeing plenty of the ball in the England half as they look to see out the match. At the moment, they look the more likely of the two teams to grab the next goal, with Carvalho seeing his low strike deflect just behind for a corner.

SHOT! Pritchard has added some energy to the England attack since his introduction and he reacts quickly to a loose ball on the edge of the box, before scuffing a shot wide. I can also tell you that there will be at least three minutes of stoppage time added on.

England are throwing everything they have at this game now and Pritchard wins a corner after his shot deflects behind. He then whips in the set piece, but Jenkinson's header in a crowded box is straight at the keeper.

FULL-TIME: England 0-1 Portugal

The referee blows for the final whistle and Portugal have held on to claim the points against England. Joao Mario's goal turned out to be the winner, after a throughly entertaining game of football. Gareth Southgate will be disappointed with the result, but there were plenty of positives to take from the match, with his players putting in a good display.

Portugal's players celebrate scoring during the UEFA Under21 European Championship 2015 football match between England and Portugal in Uherske Hradiste, Czech Republic on June 18, 2015© Getty Images


So, that's all for our coverage, after a busy day in the Under-21 Championship. If you want more live football this evening then we've got some Copa America action coming up at midnight, as Peru take on Venezuela. Until next time, goodbye!

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Jesse Lingard of England celebrates after scoring their first goal during the international friendly between England Under 21 and Germany Under 21 at Riverside Stadium on March 30, 2015
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