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Football - International Football: England under-19s impressing

29 June 2022 12:14:34 EST
England will face Israel in Friday's final

England are one game away from sealing yet another tournament win at youth level, with the under-19s set to face Israel in Friday's European Championship final.

It has been another excellent tournament for the Young Lions, who will aim to match their achievement from 2017 when they beat Portugal to lift the title in Georgia.

This summer they sealed top spot in Group B with some ease, beating Austria, Serbia and Israel along the way, before encountering their toughest test against Italy in Tuesday's semi-final, coming from behind to win that match 2-1.

They are priced at 1.25 to lift the trophy in Friday's final with Israel at 3.75.

What:

England vs Israel, 2022 European Under-19 Championship Final

Where:

Anton Malatinsky Stadium, Trnava, Slovakia

When:19:00, Friday 1st July
How to watch:

BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website, or BBC red button

Odds:England 1.53, Israel 5.75, Draw 3.75

England power their way through

So far, England haven't been tested a huge amount, with Italy proving to be the only real thorn in their side.

The group stage was perfect for Ian Foster's team, as they breezed through with three wins and didn't even concede a goal.

The tournament got off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win against Austria thanks to goals from Carney Chukwuemeka and Alfie Devine of Aston Villa and Tottenham respectively.

Serbia were then overpowered by England as Chukwuemeka scored another along with two from Spurs' Dane Scarlett and one from Sheffield United's Daniel Jebbison in a 4-0 thrashing.

Then, the Young Lions rounded off their group campaign by squeezing past Israel 1-0 thanks to a strike from Manchester City's Liam Delap.

Italy contest proves England have mental toughness

Going into the semi-finals against Italy, England knew they were in for a tough test when facing an Azzurri side that came through their group in second following wins over Romania and hosts Slovakia.

However, a 4-1 defeat to France in their final group game gave off the impression that this Italy side was vulnerable and England could get at them.

Tuesday's last-four match did not prove quite so easy for the Young Lions however - England conceded the opener on 12 minutes when Fabio Miretti converted a penalty after he was fouled by Brooke Norton-Cuffy.

England took until the 56th minute to get back on terms when Bristol City attacking midfielder Alex Scott headed in Alfie Devine's corner.

The winner came on 82 minutes from Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah, who was on hand to nod home a Harvey Vale corner which took a deflection on its way through.

Even though England will have felt nervy throughout, it was an examination worth persevering through and now they can head into Friday's final against Israel with some confidence.

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First team exposure helps U19s

Perhaps one of the reasons why England have looked so good during this tournament is the fact that many of the squad are getting in and around the first-team squads of their clubs.

Chukwuemeka is the brightest example - he has been knocking on the Aston Villa door for some time and last season made 14 appearances for the senior team - not bad going for a player who has to compete with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Emi Buendia for a place.

Aaron Ramsey and Tim Iroegbunam are also part of the same Villa group, while Devine and Scarlett were named on the bench several times for Spurs last season.

Scott has played a full year of Championship football for Bristol City and has been hardened up by the experience, while Callum Doyle helped Sunderland to promotion from League One after a year on loan from Manchester City.

Delap and Vale have been knocking on the first-team door at City and Chelsea respectively and both are rated as big prospects at their clubs.

Another plus of this campaign has been the fact that the goals are being shared around - England boast seven different goalscorers at the tournament and they are not overly reliant on one man.

Israel make admirable journey

As far as Israel are concerned, they have done very well to get to the final after only winning one of their group matches.

They overcame France 2-1 in the semi-finals to reach the showpiece event but they will need to improve their defensive record to win.

Israel haven't kept a clean sheet so far this campaign and conceded twice against both Austria and Serbia in the group stage.

If England play their own game and hit to their full potential, this should be theirs for the taking.

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