Nouble at the double for England

Austria 2-3 England
Frank Nouble scored twice as last year's runners-up resisted a determined fightback to begin their Group A campaign with a win.

Frank Nouble celebrates his second goal against Austria
©Sportsfile

Last season's runners-up England resisted a determined Austria fightback to open their UEFA European Under-19 Championship Group A campaign with a 3-2 victory.

Two Frank Nouble efforts, both as a result of defensive lapses, inside the opening 29 minutes set England on their way to what seemed a straightforward victory. However, David Alaba halved the deficit early in the second half direct from a free-kick and only a smart Declan Rudd save from Christoph Knasmüllner moments later kept England's lead intact. Thomas Cruise restored the two-goal advantage on 53 minutes before Gernot Trauner set up an exciting denouement with a crisp drive into the bottom corner.

Noel Blake's side had also been slow in starting and were lucky to still be on level terms when Andreas Weimann's threaded pass reached Alaba, who flashed an effort narrowly wide. England then took the lead with their first serious attack, however, Nouble punishing Emir Dilaver's wayward header on 13 minutes.

A smothering save from Philip Petermann thwarted Nathan Delfouneso yet England did not have to wait too much longer to increase their advantage, Nouble seizing on Michael Schimpelsberger's error and rifling the ball in from the narrowest of angles. The half ended with both teams trading free-kicks off the crossbar, Dean Parrett rattling the woodwork before Alaba did likewise at the other end.

He would go one better with a curling effort six minutes after the break, though, while Rudd then denied a reinvigorated Austria team the equaliser. Cruise pounced on a loose ball in the area following Parrett's corner yet Austria would not relent and once again gave themselves a glimmer of hope through Trauner.

Alaba extended Rudd with another set-piece but despite further pressure an equaliser was not forthcoming, meaning Andreas Heraf's squad must get a result against France on Wednesday ‒ when England meet the Netherlands ‒ to have any hope of reaching the last four.

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