England bounced back from conceding an equaliser in added time to beat hosts Switzerland 3-2 and earn their second successive victory in UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round Group 2.
Having initially fallen behind in Nyon, Noel Blake's team, who opened with a win against Montenegro, rallied to take the lead only to be pegged back in the 91st minute. George Thorne, though, found the net once more, four minutes into added time. However, the goal made no difference to the group – with a draw Switzerland would still have been out and England would, as they do anyway, have needed to defeat Spain here on Sunday to qualify.
It was Switzerland, beaten by Spain on Tuesday, who started more dangerously and duly took the lead after 14 minutes, Janick Kamber picking out the far corner to leave England keeper Jack Butland with no chance. Luke Williams levelled the scores six minutes later and, just as it looked set to be even heading into half-time, the imposing figure of Michael Ngoo headed in Thorne's cross to put England ahead.
Claude Ryf's team had more possession after the interval but struggled to create many clear openings, England going closest soon after the break when Jordan Obita's effort was cleared off the line. Switzerland eventually mustered a notable chance with eight minutes left, but Haris Seferović's header struck the bar and Josip Drmić put the rebound over. Their perseverance finally paid off when Seferović beat Butland but there was still time for Thorne to win the game.
Ryf, coaching a generation who won the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, said: "The team had the will to win and it was very cruel to have a third goal against us in the very last minute, but it is positive to see that the team is able to play against a team like England and for us Spain was just a little too good. Most Swiss players go from U17 directly into the U21 team and there is not a big selection of players at hand. In countries like Spain the selection is much bigger."
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