England U21s are EMBARRASSED by Andorra as they limp to a 3-3 draw on a plastic pitch with Aidy Boothroyd’s talented squad held by the minnows after a last-minute lobbed equaliser
- England have lost their perfect European Championship qualifying record
- Aidy Boothroyd’s side were pegged back 3-3 by Christian Garcia’s last-gasp goal
- Eddie Nketiah had put England 3-2 ahead with seven minutes of normal time left
- Nketiah netted his 13th goal at Under 21s level to equal Alan Shearer’s record
England Under 21s lost their perfect qualifying record after suffering a scare on a plastic pitch in Andorra.
Aidy Boothroyd’s side appeared to have just struggled beyond dogged opposition but conceded a stoppage-time equaliser in a six-goal thriller.
It had appeared that substitute Eddie Nketiah had inched England over the line by pouncing to net his 13th goal at this level to equal Alan Shearer’s record – but they could not hold on.
Andorra Under 21s sprung a huge surprise by earning a last-gasp 3-3 draw against England
Christian Garcia netted an injury-time equaliser for the hosts as they stunned England
The England squad walk off in dejection after being embarrassed by Andorra on Wednesday
This was a difficult afternoon, England sluggish for spells on the 3G surface, while Boothroyd kept the majority of his bigger names – including Nketiah and Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham – on the bench with a view to next week’s home tie against Turkey.
Andorra took a shock lead just before the half-hour, with Ricard Fernandez – a striker who has played at senior level – pouncing on indecision within the England back four. Fernandez moved beyond Jonathan Panzo and lashed his effort high into Aaron Ramsdale’s top left-hand corner.
There was patience to the Young Lions, however, and Sam Surridge went close with a header from Eberechi Eze’s clipped cross. An equaliser was coming and arrived when Tom Davies met Josh Dasilva’s cut-back, expertly bending an effort into the far corner from the edge of the box on the stroke of half-time.
Eddie Nketiah thought he won the game for England late on with a strike in the 83rd minute
It was an afternoon to forget for Aidy Boothroyd as his side lost their perfect qualifying record
They began exerting more control thereafter. Eze, a bright spark all afternoon, might have scored his first Under-21 goal following good work by the recalled Dwight McNeil. Surridge was thwarted by Andorra’s goalkeeper, Iker Alvarez, at the back post. Alvarez gathered when Curtis Jones let fly from distance on debut.
Andorra had been willing to counter at pace, although reverted to sitting in, hoping to secure only a fifth point from seven in this group. England’s task became more about shuffling the stubborn home midfield from their positions, with Max Aarons beginning to enjoy greater influence.
The second goal came from that side, England working a way to the byline and, after Andorra failed to clear, Dasilva – whose stature continues to grow at Brentford – mopped up at the back post to squeeze in a Jones cross with 21 minutes remaining.
Ricard Fernandez celebrates scoring the second of his goals for Andorra to make 2-2
Fernandez pictured slotting home Andorra’s first goal of the qualifier in the 28th minute
England made three changes but Andorra were not finished and equalised after 77 minutes. Alex Martinez roamed forward to head a cross on to Ramsdale’s bar before Fernandez was more alert than those around him to stab his second past the England goalkeeper.
England had made three changes prior to that, one of whom being Nketiah, and he rescued them in the 83rd minute. The strike owed much to Eze’s industry, gliding through tackles, before slipping the Arsenal man through to dink over Alvarez.
Andorra again fought back and again there was defensive indecision by the visitors, Christian Garcia somehow allowed to bundle beyond Ramsdale. England will be at next year’s European Championship but must hope this sort of performance does not repeat itself.
Tom Davies equalised on the stroke of half-time for England after going behind in 28th minute
Relive all the action below with Sportsmail’s Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero
So after a disappointing draw against bottom-placed Andorra which spoils their perfect record, England will have to wait until next Tuesday’s game against Turkey at Molineux to seal Euro 2021 qualification.
England are still top of Group C with 19 points, and will need to win that game to confirm their place in Hungary and Slovenia in 2021.
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The referee blows for full time and Andorra rightly celebrate a hard-fought point against the group leaders. The result does no serious harm to England’s chances of qualification but Aidy Boothroyd will still be worried about how his side twice spurned the lead in the second half. Nketiah got his record goal off the bench but there are problems to sort out for the Young Lions.
90+1 minutes: Disaster strikes again for England as Andorra grab a second equaliser. Jonathan Panzo can’t clear an overhead ball and Garcia runs through to chip Ramsdale. He’s promptly mobbed by his teammates, who can’t believe what they’re seeing.
82 minutes: Nketiah’s done it! Davies makes a surging run through the middle and offloads to Eze, who plays an inch-perfect pass into Nketiah’s feet. He slots home for his ninth goal in just five Euro 2021 qualifiers, drawing him level with Shearer on 13 goals for the U21s.
80 minutes: Boothroyd took off Curtis Jones for Callum Hudson-Odoi prior to that goal and Dwight McNeil has just been replaced by Ryan Sessegnon.
76 minutes: It’s that man again! Fernandez has shocked England for the second time this game with an equaliser seemingly out of nowhere. A cross into the area is headed onto the bar by Alex Martinez and Fernandez follows up with Ramsdale on the floor.
72 minutes: That turns out to be Dasilva’s last contribution for the Young Lions as he comes off for Jude Bellingham. Eddie Nketiah comes on for Sam Surridge, with the Arsenal striker one goal away from Alan Shearer’s goalscoring record for the U21s.
70 minutes: England’s pressure pays off! Aarons dashes into the area and cuts back for Dasilva, whose low shot squirms under Iker and just over the line.
66 minutes: Eze has been England’s liveliest player this half, twice getting himself into good scoring positions. He will be disappointed not to have converted at least one of those chances but there’s still time.
55 minutes: England have come out the brighter side since half-time and concerted pressure brings a great chance for Eze. Aarons floats in a cross which is headed back across goal by Jones but the Crystal Palace winger skies it.
That late Davies goal means the two sides are level at the break. Andorra will be the happier team after they unexpectedly took the lead through Fernandez but Boothroyd will be pleased his Young Lions managed a response, even if it was late on. All to play for in the second half.
45 minutes: There’s the equaliser for England! Aarons appears in the box and squares it to Dasilva, who lays it off perfectly for captain Tom Davies to curl home from outside the area. It’s a well-worked goal and a great finish from the Everton man.
38 minutes: A great chance goes begging for Sam Surridge. Eberechi Eze put it on a plate for him after some nice footwork on the edge of the area but Surridge’s header flashed wide.
35 minutes: Some frustration from England after going behind. Tom Davies is held back for a foul in midfield.
27 minutes: Andorra take a shock lead as England’s defence are split open far too easily by a long ball from keeper Iker. Rhys Williams fails to deal with it and in the ensuing mix-up Ricard Fernandez curls past Ramsdale.
18 minutes: Curtis Jones makes a lovely slaloming run into the area and goes down too easily according to the referee, who shows him a yellow card for diving. Some good flashes from England in these first 20 minutes though.
12 minutes: Ramsdale makes a great save to keep out Andorra after a smart set-piece routine 12 minutes in.
Good afternoon and welcome to Andorra U21s vs England U21s in the Euro 2021 qualifiers. A win here would put Aidy Boothroyd’s men on the verge of qualification for the tournament in Hungary and Slovenia.
Without further ado, here’s the starting lineups for each side, with Brandon Williams, Rhys Williams and Curtis Jones all making their England debuts.
Andorra: Iker, Joan Cervos, Albert Alavedra, Christian Garcia, Eric de Pablos, Alex Martinez, Jordi Alaez, Joel, F. Pomares, Ricard Fernandez, Luis Rosas.
England: Aaron Ramsdale, Max Aarons, Jonathan Panzo, Rhys Williams, Brandon Williams, Joshua Dasilva, Tom Davies, Dwight McNeil, Curtis Jones, Sam Surridge, Eberechi Eze.
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