England ensured a return to the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final tournament after a year's absence as the hosts came through Group 2 undefeated to book their place in Estonia.
Noel Blake's side opened their account with an victory over Slovenia, though the 5-0 scoreline did not tell the whole story of a game locked at 0-0 at half-time. Slovenia's resistance was broken just after the interval by Nathaniel Chalobah (48) and Thomas Thorpe swiftly added a second (54). Two late goals from William Keane either side of another from substitute Todd Kane (88) added gloss to the result.
Montenegro, who have yet to make a final tournament, showed they would be no pushovers as they saw off Switzerland 3-0 to position themselves as England's rivals for the group crown. Luka Djordjević put Montenegro ahead 23 minutes in, and after captain Marko Vukčević made it two in the second period Djordjević's second of the night secured the win after the interval.
The two winners of the opening matches faced off in Rochdale on matchday two and could not be separated. Montenegro were all set for a major shock after Vukčević put them ahead in the first half. Yet Benik Afobe grabbed the equaliser with just five minutes remaining to keep England's noses ahead in the table.
On a tense final matchday Montenegro knew only a handsome win would give them a chance to progress, but Marko Kovjenič's 81st minute penalty and Marko Janković's late red card ended their hopes as they lost 1-0 to Slovenia. It brought welcome relief for England, who struggled to break down Switzerland before substitute Saido Berahino scored an added-time winner to seal a place in the finals draw on 6 June.
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