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Jun 22, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at Kolporter Arena
England U21sEngland Under-21s
3-0
Poland U21sPoland Under-21s
Gray (6'), Murphy (69'), Baker (82' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-0)

Bednarek (82')

Live Commentary: England Under-21s 3-0 Poland Under-21s - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Under-21 European Championship Group A clash as England Under-21s overcame Poland Under-21s.
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England Under-21s secured their spot in the semi-finals of the Under-21 European Championships after recording a 3-0 win over hosts Poland Under-21s in Kielce on Thursday night.

Any victory for England would have seen them top Group A - booking a last-four position in the process - and goals from Demarai Gray, Jacob Murphy and Lewis Baker saw the Three Lions progress through the group stage.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's live coverage of the action below.


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Evening all! Sports Mole's live Under-21 European Championship coverage continues from Kielce as England Under-21s face Poland Under-21s. A win for England would see them finish top of Group A – qualifying for the semi-finals in the process – but a draw or a defeat would open up a number of possibilities in this section. Be sure to stay tuned as Group A comes to a conclusion!

England are currently top of Group A on four points, while Slovakia Under-21s sit second on three points, Sweden Under-21s third on two points, and Poland fourth on one point. Only the winners of each of the three groups are guaranteed to qualify for the semi-finals, where they will be joined by the runners-up with the best record in the group stage. As it stands, Spain Under-21s are the only team through.

As mentioned, a win for England sees them through to the semi-finals, but a draw would also be enough if Sweden and Slovakia draw in tonight's other Group A clash. If England and Poland draw, and Sweden win, England could also win the group depending on Sweden's scoreline against Slovakia. Defeat, meanwhile, would send England home if there is a winner between Sweden and Slovakia.

To be honest, this is an extremely complex group, but I will keep you up-to-speed with what is occurring throughout the night, do not fear! Right, let me bring you the all-important team news...

Tammy Abraham represents England Under-19s against Japan Under-19s on November 15, 2015© SilverHub


TEAMS!

ENG: Pickford; Holgate, Chambers, Mawson, Chilwell; Chalobah, Ward-Prowse; Gray, Baker, Swift; Redmond

POL: Wrabel; Jaroszynski, Jach, Bednarek, Kedziora; Frankowski, Linetty, Murawski, Moneta; Kownacki, Piatek


England boss Aidy Boothroyd has made one change to the team that started the 2-1 win over Slovakia, with Leicester City's Demarai Gray taking the place of Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham. As a result, John Swift keeps his spot in the team ahead of Jacob Murphy, while Nathaniel Chalobah, Lewis Baker and Nathan Redmond also all retain their positions for the Group A leaders.

As for Poland, their team shows two changes to the one that drew with Sweden Under-21s last time out - Krzysztof Piatek and Radoslaw Murawski taking the places of Mariusz Stepinski, who is the top scorer in the Poland Under-21 squad, and experienced defender Pawel Dawidowicz. Leicester City's Bartosz Kapustka and Arsenal's Krystian Bielik are both on the bench for the host nation.

So there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 15 minutes from kickoff on this warm evening in Poland. As touched upon, all four teams can still win Group A, but England are in the driving seat. The Three Lions opened their tournament with a goalless draw against Sweden on Friday, but recorded a much-needed 2-1 victory over Slovakia on Monday afternoon.

Interim England Under-21s manager Aidy Boothroyd sings the national anthem before his side's friendly against Italy Under-21s at St Mary's Stadium on November 10, 2016© SilverHub


England actually fell behind to Slovakia last time out, but goals from Alfie Mawson and Nathan Redmond ensured that Boothroyd's side would collect all three points. England Under-21s finished as runners-up in the 2009 Under-21 European Championships, but they have been eliminated in the group stage of each of the last three tournaments. Will their poor record continue here?


As for Poland, the hosts opened their tournament with a 2-1 defeat to Slovakia, before sharing the points in a 2-2 draw with Sweden on Monday. As mentioned, they can still win the group, but would have to beat England, hope that Sweden and Slovakia draw, and provide a swing in goal difference.

Poland Under-21s have actually reached the quarter-finals of this particular competition on five occasions, but have not competed in the Under-21 European Championships since 1994. They qualified as hosts on this occasion, and will be desperate to continue their journey in the competition.


Here we go then. The time for talking is almost over. A win for England takes them into the semi-finals of the competition, but a draw or a defeat makes things very complicated. No Abraham in the England XI tonight, and it will be interesting to see whether Gray or Redmond plays through the middle. As for Poland, the host nation can still win Group A, but they would need a lot of things to happen!

KICKOFF! England get this Group A clash underway...

... it must be said that the atmosphere inside the stadium is wonderful. Poland will be looking for a fast start, and you just get the feeling that England need to be sharp with their passing in the early exchanges. The first goal - if there indeed is one - could be all-important in this contest.

The home supporters continue to create a wonderful noise inside the stadium as their team break on England, but Linetty cannot find a pass into Moneta, and England resume with a goal kick.

SAVE! Wrabel has to tip a Ward-Prowse effort over the crossbar after the Southampton midfielder had met a short corner from Swift. That would have been an interesting goal!

Another half-chance for England as Baker meets a corner from Ward-Prowse, but his effort is deflected wide of the post, before Mawson heads the resulting set piece just wide.

GOAL! England Under-21s 1-0 Poland Under-21s (Gray)

Lift-off! England make the breakthrough in the sixth minute as Gray turns on the edge of the Poland box before finding the far corner with the help of a deflection. Perfect start for England!

Slovakia have taken the lead against Sweden in Group A's other match, but a win for England takes the Three Lions into the semi-finals of the competition regardless of what happens in that one.

It has been a decent response from Poland as they look to feed off the crowd, but England survive another period of pressure, and Pickford takes his time in taking the latest of his goal kicks here.

Gray is causing all sorts of problems with his pace here, and another cross into the Poland box has to be defended. There is a real swagger about England at the moment as they continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field, but Poland are certainly capable of turning this one around.

We have not seen an awful lot from Piatek in the opening 15 minutes of this match, with Poland's lone striker struggling for service. England are quite comfortable in possession of the ball here.

The home supporters are doing their best to raise their team, but Poland have not really offered anything in the opening 18 minutes of this Group A clash. There was a touch of fortune about England's opening goal, but the Three Lions have been the better side thus far tonight.

Not an awful lot to report in the last couple of minutes as both teams share the possession.

Frankowski looks to thread a pass into Linetty as Poland break down the right, but the weight is wrong, allowing England to clear their lines once again. Sloppy, sloppy from Poland at the moment.

Gray delivers a low cross into the Poland box, but Redmond goes away from goal!

Piatek almost has the chance to break into a one-on-one situation with Pickford, but Mawson does enough to make the clearance. The Swansea City centre-back has been impressive at this tournament.

Chalobah looks to have a problem for England after going down in the middle of the pitch.

Slovakia have now taken a 2-0 lead against Sweden in Group A's other match, but a win for England takes them into the semi-finals of the competition, regardless of the other result. It does leave England vulnerable, however, because an equaliser for Poland would see Slovakia take over at the top.

Poland have a free kick in a dangerous area as Chilwell brings Frankowski to the deck...

... Chambers leaps above everyone to head clear of the England box.

Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining, and it would be fair to say that the game has not exactly been enthralling since England took the lead. Poland need to do more in this one.

SAVE! Super save from Wrabel to keep out Chalobah's close-range header!

SAVE! Another wonderful stop as Mawson is now denied by Wrabel!

Two excellent saves from Wrabel in quick succession, and Poland are lucky to still be in this football match. England really need that second goal to have some breathing space in Kielce.

Redmond uses his pace to drive clear of the Polish midfield before feeding Baker, but the Chelsea midfielder loses control in a wide position, handing Poland the chance to resume from a goal kick. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could be decisive in this match.

Chalobah is again limping here, and the Chelsea midfielder might have to be replaced.

SAVE! Wrabel claws a Swift effort away as England come close once again!

ENGLAND SUB! Will Hughes replaces the injured Chalobah.

England continue to look dangerous on the counter-attack, especially when Redmond and Gray both have space to attack. As for Poland, lone forward Piatek has been extremely isolated in the final third of the field. It is difficult to see where a Polish goal is going to come from at the moment.

CHANCE! Swift and Chambers both look to meet a dangerous free kick from Ward-Prowse, but neither can make contact as England pass up another chance to double their lead.

Poland captain Kedziora misses the crossbar with a wild effort from distance.

The noise inside this stadium is staggering, but Poland have been unable to produce in the opening 45 minutes. It is still only 1-0, however, which still leaves the contest delicately balanced here.

We are into the first of two additional minutes in Kielce.

HALF-TIME: England Under-21s 1-0 Poland Under-21s

So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with England leading Poland 1-0 courtesy of a sixth-minute strike from Gray, who replaced Abraham in the XI tonight. As it stands, England are heading for the semi-finals of the European Championships as winners of Group A.

STATISTICS! England have shaded the first-half possession with 54%, while they had eight attempts in the opening 45 minutes - five of which were on target. Poland, meanwhile, failed to hit the target with any of their five attempts. No bookings to report - it has not been that type of game.

BENCH WATCH! A talented England bench includes the likes of Grealish, Murphy and Woodrow, while Abraham is also available for Boothroyd tonight. England have already been forced into a change, however, with Will Hughes replacing the injured Chalobah in the 39th minute. As for Poland, head coach Dorna has attacking options in the shape of Kapustka, Lipski and Stepinski.

RESTART! Poland resume the action on home soil...

POLAND SUB! Lipski has replaced Moneta for Poland.

ENGLAND SUB! Jacob Murphy replaces Redmond for England.

You just get the feeling that a second England goal would kill off Poland in this match, but the longer that it stays 1-0, the more nerves that will build in the England camp. Ward-Prowse delivers another dangerous free kick into the home side's box, but it bounces behind for a goal kick.

Better from Poland at the moment, with the home side starting to move the ball quicker in the final third of the field. That said, Pickford has still not had a save to make in Kielce tonight.

Half-chance for Ward-Prowse as the ball falls for the England captain inside the Poland box, but the Southampton midfielder goes with the wrong foot, and Poland survive a dangerous moment.

Still 1-0 England, and still England pressing for a second goal. The half-time change has not changed too much for Poland, who cannot same to fashion a shooting opportunity in this game.

CHANCE! Wonderful chance for England as Swift meets a far-post free kick from Ward-Prowse, but the midfielder's effort is wide of the post. Another opportunity!

Much better from England in the last five minutes, and Ward-Prowse is at the heart of it. The Southampton midfielder turns before feeding Holgate in a wide area, but Jach is across to challenge.

Little under 30 minutes of football remaining, and as it stands, England are heading into the semi-finals. A Polish goal changes everything, however, and that is the danger for the Three Lions.

Chilwell is still full of running down the left, although not too many are joining him in the final third at the moment. There is still a lot of football to be played before the night is over in Kielce.

Chilwell delivers another cross into the Poland box, but again there are no takers, with Poland able to clear their lines. The noise is relentless from the Polish fans, but their team are struggling. That said, all it takes is one set piece for Poland to level, leaving England on the brink of elimination.

POLAND SUB! Piatek is replaced by Niezgoda.

BOOKING! Mawson (England) is booked for a foul on Niezgoda.

A mistake from Pickford hands Poland a shooting chance, but Murawski fires wide from a good position. That was almost extremely costly from Everton's new goalkeeper here!

GOAL! England Under-21s 2-0 Poland Under-21s (Murphy)

England double their lead on the night, and surely book their spot in the semi-finals, as Gray uses his pace to drive down the left before delivering a low cross into Murphy, who just cannot miss!

Half-chance for Poland as Linetty finds space in the final third, but his low effort is wide.

ENGLAND SUB! Ward-Prowse is replaced by Abraham.

POLAND SUB! Kownacki is replaced by Stepinski.

CLOSE! Frankowski just misses the far post with a low effort!

Little under 15 minutes of normal time remaining, and England are heading into the semi-finals of the competition, where they will join Spain. The other two teams are yet to be confirmed here.

Still the Poland supporters drive their team forward, but England have been the better team tonight, and they deserve to be heading for all three points, and a spot in the semi-finals.

BOOKING! Bednarek (Poland) is booked for a foul on Abraham.

SAVE! Baker sees a powerful free kick beaten away, before Abraham heads the rebound over. That would have seen the Poland challenge end, that is for sure.

PENALTY ENGLAND!

Bednarek brings down Abraham, and England have a penalty here!

RED CARD! BEDNAREK! Bednarek picks up a second yellow, and goes off!

GOAL! England Under-21s 3-0 Poland Under-21s (Baker, pen)

Baker sends his penalty into the corner for 3-0 England!

England have been impressive tonight, but Poland have been very poor.

Still the home supporters produce a sensational noise inside the stadium. The support has been terrific, but Poland have simply been unable to put a performance together in this tournament.

We are into the final minute of the 90, and England have possession in the Poland half here.

England should make it 4-0 as Gray feeds Baker inside the Poland box, but the midfielder takes too long to release an effort, allowing the home side's goalkeeper to make a smart challenge.

FULL-TIME: England Under-21s 3-0 Poland Under-21s

So there we have it. England book their spot in the semi-finals of the Under-21 European Championships after recording a 3-0 win over the hosts Poland. England have won Group A on seven points, and will play in the final four on June 27. Poland, however, are out of the competition. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. Until next time!

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England Under-21s winger Nathan Redmond in action during his side's friendly against Italy Under-21s on November 10, 2016
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