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Israel 0-3 England: Young Lions stride into final

Goals from Morgan Gibbs-White, Cole Palmer and substitute Cameron Archer took Lee Carsley's side to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship showpiece.

Highlights: Israel 0-3 England

Morgan Gibbs-White, Cole Palmer and substitute Cameron Archer were on target in Batumi as England broke down a determined Israel side to reach the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final.

Key moments

13': Smith Rowe has a shot blocked on the line and another saved before a penalty is awarded
: Gibbs-White puts the spot kick wide of Tzarfati's left-hand post
: Gibbs-White heads England in front
: Palmer tidies away the Young Lions' second
85': Khalaili forces Trafford into a save with a close-range header
90': Substitute Archer smashes in England's third

Watch highlights

Match in brief: England pressure pays in Batumi

Israel contained England capably until the 13th minute, when a defensive slip opened Guy Luzon's side up. Gil Cohen cleared one Emile Smith Rowe effort off the line, and stand-in keeper Tomer Tzarfati pushed another on to the post before a penalty was awarded for Karm Jaber's foul on Anthony Gordon. Gibbs-White stepped up to take it but pushed his low effort wide.

Morgan Gibbs-White celebrates opening the scoring
Morgan Gibbs-White celebrates opening the scoringUEFA via Getty Images

Having ridden their luck, Israel went back into containment mode but carried some threat on the break, Omri Gandelman firing wide with perhaps their best opening of the first 45 minutes. However, they did not make it to half-time with a clean sheet, Gibbs-White racing in from midfield to loop Palmer's ball from the right over Tzarfati and under the crossbar.

England kept pressing after the break and Palmer doubled their lead on 63 minutes, putting away Smith Rowe's ball at the far post after a sudden burst of quick passes broke Israel's concentration.

Luzon's team had little choice but to commit more men forward in the final 20 minutes. Substitute Anan Khalaili forced James Trafford into his first serious save of the game with a header on 84 minutes and Roy Revivo later had an effort blocked, but Lee Carsley's side profited on the break, substitute Archer smashing in their late third.

As it happened: Israel 0-3 England

Player of the Match: Curtis Jones (England)

"Leader on the pitch, excellent positionally, reads the game well and has brilliant distribution in attack."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Curtis Jones receives his Player of the Match award
Curtis Jones receives his Player of the Match awardUEFA via Getty Image

Ian Holyman, match reporter

England were – again – simply too good for Israel. Some of the interplay between the midfield and forward players was delightful, with Gordon and Gomes, in particular, outstanding. Gibbs-White also displayed his character in shrugging off that early penalty setback to head a superb opening goal. Collectively, Carsley's men also kept a lid on Israel's counterattacking threat and showed resilience during the closing stages when their opponents poured forward. Luzon's team might have made more of set-piece situations – notably during the first half – but they head home having claimed their nation's first-ever U21 EURO semi-final spot and a berth in the 2024 Olympic football tournament.

Cameron Archer after scoring England's late third
Cameron Archer after scoring England's late thirdUEFA via Getty Images


Curtis Jones, England midfielder and Player of the Match: "Israel are a good side. They pressed us in the first game. In this one, they sat back and made it difficult for us. But we came through, and that's what a good team does. The stats speak for themselves: we're scoring goals and not conceding, not giving away chances. We're well organised. The final will be good – it'll be tough, of course, but we're ready."

Morgan Gibbs-White, England forward: "I'm pretty speechless right now. We all believed we could do it. We've been working so hard with the same team for the last two years, and our only goal was to reach this final. We'll get back on the training ground tomorrow and work harder than ever."

Gibbs-White: 'This has been our aim for two years'

Lee Carsley, England manager: "I enjoyed the process of analysing Israel, they're a good team, a tough team. They've got a lot of spirit, and I'm delighted we had the chance to play them. All the credit goes to the squad; they're a very determined bunch. But there are still a lot of things we can sharpen up ahead of the next game."

Gil Cohen, Israel captain: "We're very disappointed with the result. In the first half-hour, we might have scored. We had to chase the game after going behind and England are a really good team. It didn't end well."

Key stats

  • England have reached the U21 EURO final for a fourth time; their last final appearance was in 2009, when they lost 4-0 to Germany. They won the competition in 1982 and 1984 (beating Spain 3-0 on aggregate).
  • England are the second team to reach a U21 EURO decider winning every finals game and not conceding after Spain in 2013 (they went on to beat Italy 4-2 in the final).
  • England have won 14 of their last 16 U21 EURO qualifying and final tournament matches (D1 L1).
  • Lee Carsley's side also beat Israel 2-0 in the group stage.
  • Israel conceded three penalties at this finals but none resulted in goals; Daniel Peretz (suspended for this game) saved two against Germany, and Gibbs-White missed the target for England.


The teams line up ahead of kick-off in Batumi
The teams line up ahead of kick-off in BatumiUEFA via Getty Images

Israel: Tzarfati; Jaber, Lemkin, Cohen, Revivo; Gloukh, Gandelman (Ferede 89), Hagag (Khalaili 56), Azoulay (Bilevi 75); Turgeman (Abu Rumi 89), Layous (Gorno 56)

England: Trafford; Garner, Harwood-Bellis, Colwill, Thomas; Gomes (Skipp 78), Jones (Doyle 88); Palmer, Gibbs-White (Madueke 78), Smith Rowe (Elliott 74); Gordon (Archer 74)

Under-21 EURO final

England will face Spain in the final, also at Batumi Arena, on Sunday at 18:00 CET (20:00 local time).

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