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2023 UEFA U21 Euro: England end group campaign with 100% winning record

Early goals from Cameron Archer and Harvey Elliott propelled England to a 2-0 victory against Germany, concluding Group C on a high note.

Harvey Elliott of England celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Under-21 Euro 2023 Group C match between England and Germany at Adjarabet Arena on June 28, 2023 in Batumi, Georgia. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)
Harvey Elliott of England celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his sides second goal [Credit: MB Media]

This marks England’s third consecutive 2-0 win and secures their spot in the quarter-finals as group winners. Their next challenge awaits as they face Portugal on Sunday, with a semi-final berth at stake. Despite Germany’s late comeback attempt, it proved insufficient, leading to an end of their title defense.

Prior to the match, England had already secured qualification and top spot with a 2-0 win over Israel, while Germany suffered a 2-1 defeat against the Czech Republic. In this decisive game, Germany needed a victory against England and hoped for a Czech Republic loss to advance to the quarter-finals.

Within 45 seconds, England registered their first shot on target as Cameron Archer forced Germany goalkeeper Noah Atubolu to make a save.

In the 4th minute, Archer broke the deadlock by slotting the ball low into the bottom right corner. Assisted by his Aston Villa teammate Jacob Ramsey, Archer capitalized on the opportunity, displaying precision and giving England the lead.

Just five minutes later, Ramsey had a chance to double England’s advantage. Ben Johnson delivered a cross that bounced around the box, eventually reaching Ramsey, whose shot narrowly missed the target.

Germany was forced to make an early substitution as right-back Josha Vagnoman exited the game due to injury, making way for Kilian Fischer.

In the 19th minute, Kevin Schade crossed the ball to Nelson Weiper, whose shot deflected off Noah Weibhaupt and went wide, providing relief for England goalkeeper James Trafford.

Shortly after, Harvey Elliott further punished Germany with a well-taken goal, extending England’s lead to 2-0. Elliott received the ball near the halfway line, dribbled unchallenged, and expertly struck it into the bottom right corner.

In the 23rd minute, Trafford made a fantastic save, denying Kevin Schade’s header.

England’s attacking quartet of Madueke, Elliott, Ramsey, and Archer posed constant problems for the German defense with their skill and speed.

With five minutes remaining in the first half, Tom Kraus missed a significant opportunity to bring Germany back into the game, failing to find the target inside the box after a good delivery from Fischer.

On the stroke of halftime, Schade utilized his acceleration to get past Jarrad Branthwaite, but his shot missed the target.

Despite having their chances, England entered halftime with a comfortable 2-0 lead, while Germany relied on some fortune for not conceding more goals.

The early stages of the second half saw England maintaining possession, and Elliott had an opportunity to further extend the lead, but Atubolu made a crucial save.

In the 76th minute, James Garner wasted a well-executed counter-attack after a pass from substitute Smith-Rowe, squandering a golden opportunity to score.

In the closing minutes, James Trafford produced a brilliant save to deny Finn Ole Becker, preserving his clean sheet as England weathered Germany’s late pressure.

Lee Carsley’s side secured a professional 2-0 victory, concluding the group stage campaign with a flawless winning record. They now set their sights on the quarter-finals against Portugal on Sunday evening. Germany’s defense of their European title comes to an end as they exit the group stage for the first time since 2013.

Among the standout performers, England’s attacking quartet of Madueke, Elliott, Ramsey, and Archer set the tempo for the team’s victory, consistently troubling the German defense. Additionally, Noni Madueke’s exceptional performance earned him the player of the match award, further highlighting his impact on the game. Furthermore, James Trafford deserves special mention for making crucial saves to deny Germany from scoring, securing his third clean sheet of the tournament.

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