Blues trio feature as England reach semis | European Championship U21

The result ensured Aidy Boothroyd’s side, who had taken four points from their opening two matches, progressed as group winners, and they will play their semi-final fixture next Tuesday.

Both Nathaniel Chalobah and Baker started for England, but having led the line impressively in their opening two matches, Tammy Abraham dropped down to the bench, with Demarai Gray starting up front.

England started brightly and a driving run by former Chelsea midfielder John Swift led to a succession of corners from which Baker and Alfie Mawson both threatened.

They were rewarded for their positivity moments later when Gray fired them into a sixth-minute lead. The Leicester winger collected a pass from his club team-mate Ben Chilwell, cut inside and curled his effort into the far corner, with a deflection taking the strike away from Poland goalkeeper Jakub Wrabel.

Chalobah almost extended England’s lead with a close-range header which was well saved, and Wrabel, who was single-handedly keeping Poland in the game, then produced a brilliant stop to deny Swift, whose right-footed curler appeared destined for the top corner.

The home side were struggling to live with the movement and pace of the England attackers, but chances continued to go begging.

Chalobah was then forced out of the action with an injury six minutes before half-time, the Chelsea midfielder replaced by Will Hughes.

Jacob Murphy replaced Redmond in another switch at the break and the substitute’s impact was huge as he scored the all-important second goal for England 22 minutes from time.

Baker picked the ball up just inside the Poland half and shifted it out to the marauding Gray, who burst into the box and rolled the ball across goal, giving Murphy a simple finish.

Abraham was introduced for James Ward-Prowse moments later, and after a Baker free-kick was pushed into his path at pace the striker was unable to keep his header down.

A minute later, Abraham’s neat foot-work inside the Poland penalty area resulted in him being brought down, and a penalty for England. There was a discussion between the substitute and Chelsea team-mate Baker over who would take the kick, and eventually it was Baker, the designated penalty taker, who stepped forward and drilled his strike into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

There was still time for another chance as England caught Poland on the break, but as Baker opted to round Wrabel, rather than pass, the chance was gone.

Speaking after the game, Boothroyd said Chalobah was withdrawn as he had a groin problem and will be assessed tomorrow.

Slovakia’s 3-0 win over Sweden meant they finished second in the group.

Source: Chelsea FC

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