England v France facts

England have plenty of recent U21 experience while France are in a first finals since 2006 as the teams meet in Group C.

France's Moussa Dembélé celebrates scoring against England in a U21 friendly in November 2016
France's Moussa Dembélé celebrates scoring against England in a U21 friendly in November 2016 ©Getty Images

England and France, both undefeated in qualifying, meet at Cesena's Stadio Dino Manuzzi in their opening fixture of Group C with little between them in their previous UEFA European Under-21 Championship encounters.

• While England have plenty of recent experience in this tournament, this is France's first finals fixture in 13 years – but players in both squads have enjoyed plenty of success at youth level.

Previous meetings
• The six previous competitive fixtures between the sides have yielded two wins apiece, with England scoring 13 goals to France's ten.

• This is their first competitive meeting since November 2005, when they were paired together in the play-offs for the following year's final tournament. France won 3-2 on aggregate, following a 1-1 away draw with a 2-1 home win in which Franck Ribéry scored their first goal.

U21 EURO 2019: Guide to the host cities
U21 EURO 2019: Guide to the host cities

• France also came out on top in the two-legged 1988 semi-finals, Eric Cantona finding the net in each game – one in a 4-2 home win and two in a 2-2 away draw – with Paul Gascoigne on target for the home side.

• Mark Hateley scored four times in the first competitive U21 match between the teams, a 6-1 England win in the 1984 quarter-final first leg. Hateley also got the only goal of the Rouen return to wrap up an emphatic aggregate success.

• France have won three friendlies against England in the last decade – 2-0 in Nottingham in March 2009 and 3-2 in both 2014 in Brest and November 2016 in Bondoufle. Moussa Dembélé scored twice in the latter fixture, with Lucas Tousart also in the France line-up; Tammy Abraham started for England.

• Dominic Solanke scored England's winner in a 2-1 defeat of France in the 2016 European U19 Championship group stage. Freddie Woodman, Jonjoe Kenny and Fikayo Tomori also started for England, with Abraham a second-half substitute; Paul Bernardoni, Tousart and substitute Marcus Thuram featured for France.

• Tousart was a half-time substitute in France's 2-1 U19 EURO elite round win against England in March 2015; Angus Gunn was the England goalkeeper.

• Malang Sarr captained France to a 5-0 win against England in the 2018 U19 EURO group stage.

• An England side including Mason Mount were 2-0 winners against a France team featuring Sarr in the group stage of the 2016 U17 EURO.

• Jay Dasilva scored England's final goal in a 3-1 defeat of France in the European U17 Championship qualifying round in October 2014; Dayot Upamecano and substitute Jonathan Ikoné featured for France, with Kelvin Amian an unused replacement.

Meet the U21 EURO teams: England
Meet the U21 EURO teams: England

Form guide
England
• England have qualified for their seventh successive U21 final tournament – the longest ongoing sequence in the competition. They were semi-finalists in Poland two years ago, losing to eventual champions Germany on penalties.

• That was the third time England had made it past the initial group stage in those six finals appearances but the first in four; runners-up in 2009, they also lost in the last four in 2007.

• This is England's ninth participation in an eight or 12-team U21 finals; five of those previous eight campaigns ended in the group stage.

• Champions in 1982 and 1984, England have reached four further semi-finals, in 1978, 1980, 1986 and 1988. 

Classic England U21 goals
Classic England U21 goals

• England have won only three of their last 13 group games at the final tournament (D4 L6).

• In qualifying for these finals Aidy Boothroyd's side won Group 4 by eight points – one of five teams to reach the finals without losing a game (W8 D2). They won their last three fixtures, and eight of the last nine, while their tally of four goals conceded was the joint lowest along with Romania.

• With that 2017 semi-final shoot-out defeat by Germany counted as a draw, England are unbeaten in 22 competitive fixtures (W16 D6), since a 3-1 loss to Italy on matchday three of the 2015 finals.

• Dasilva, Mount and Ryan Sessegnon were all part of England's victorious 2017 European U19 Championship squad, Dasilva captaining the side.

• Phil Foden and Morgan Gibbs-White helped England win the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Foden collecting the Golden Ball for the competition's best player.

• Woodman, Dean Henderson, Jake Clarke-Salter, Kenny, Tomori, Ezri Konsa, Kieran Dowell, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Solanke were all part of the England squad that triumphed at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Solanke won the Golden Ball and Woodman the Golden Glove.

• Woodman, Kenny and Solanke also helped England to victory at U17 EURO 2014.

Classic France U21 goals
Classic France U21 goals

France
• France have not featured in the final tournament since 2006, when they lost 3-2 after extra time to eventual champions the Netherlands in the semi-finals. This is just their third appearance in an eight or 12-team finals; they finished as runners-up on the other occasion, in 2002.

• Champions in 1988, France finished third in 1996 and fourth two years earlier, also reaching the quarter-finals in 1982, 1984 and 1986.

• Since reaching the 2006 finals, four of France's six U21 campaigns have ended in the play-offs – in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2015. They finished second behind North Macedonia in their 2017 qualifying section.

• This time round, Sylvain Ripoll's team won their first nine fixtures, drawing the last 1-1 at home to Slovenia, to win qualifying Group 9 by 12 points. They qualified with two games to spare, their final tally of 28 points the highest recorded by any team.

• The draw with Slovenia ended France's 11-match winning run in competitive internationals, going back to a 1-0 loss in Ukraine in September 2016. That is France's sole defeat in their last 19 European U21 Championship matches (W15 D3).

• France have won all six of their group games in the U21 finals, recording three victories in both 2002 and 2006.

• Upamecano, Jeff Reine-Adélaïde and Ikoné were all in the France squad that won 2015 U17 EURO.

• Bernardoni, Tousart and Thuram were all members of France's 2016 European U19 Championship-winning squad, Tousart scoring in the 4-0 final victory against Italy.

How the U21 finals were won 1996-2017
How the U21 finals were won 1996-2017

Links and trivia
• Have played in England
Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal 2018-)
Jeff Reine-Adélaïde (Arsenal 2015–18)
Moussa Dembélé (Fulham 2012–16)
Olivier Ntcham (Manchester City 2012–15)

• Houssem Aouar came off the bench to score in Lyon's 3-0 defeat of Everton in the UEFA Europa League group stage on 2 November 2017. Tousart started for OL, while Kenny and Calvert-Lewin featured for the visitors.

• Substitute Ikoné's Paris Saint-Germain were beaten in the 2016 UEFA Youth League final by a Chelsea team including Tomori – who opened the scoring – Clarke-Salter, Abraham and substitute Mount.

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