Anthony Gordon’s second goal of the European Championship secured a 1-0 win over Portugal and booked England Under-21s’ place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2017.
The Newcastle winger, operating as a central forward in Lee Carsley’s team, pounced 10 minutes before half-time to clinically finish a good passing move.
Despite some late Portuguese pressure which saw Henrique Araujo’s effort rebound off the crossbar with goalkeeper James Trafford beaten, England – who have yet to concede a goal at the tournament – held on to set up a meeting with Israel, whom they beat 2-0 in the group phase, on Wednesday.
The only downside on the night in the Shengelia Arena in Kutaisi, Georgia, was a booking for Norwich right-back Max Aarons which rules him out of the semi-final.
Early exchanges saw Liverpool’s Curtis Jones guide a shot wide from just outside the penalty area and Wolves’ Pedro Neto have an effort turned around the post by Trafford.
Gordon’s first sight of goal in the 23rd minute from Jacob Ramsey’s through-ball was easily saved by Celton Biai but the Portuguese goalkeeper had no chance with his next effort.
Noni Madueke played in Morgan Gibbs-White and he cleverly cut back the ball to Gordon loitering near the penalty spot to confidently sweep home first time.
In first-half added time Taylor Harwood-Bellis produced an important block to deny Tiago Dantas and, after Aarons was booked early in the second half, Levi Colwill did similarly to prevent Araujo having a chance to equalise.
Seconds later the Portugal forward was unsuccessfully appealing for a penalty after a tangle with Harwood-Bellis in the six-yard area as they challenged for a cross before coming even closer to scoring when his header hit the crossbar.
With seconds remaining of regulation time, Neto drilled a free-kick into England’s defensive wall and when Nuno Tavares fired over in the final minute of six added on, Carsley’s side were safe.[mc4wp_form id="442993"]