U21 European Championship: Southgate: Win has proven our doubters wrong

Ross McLean
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Jesse Lingard’s late winner means England’s fate is in their own hands

RELIEVED England boss Gareth Southgate revelled in his side silencing their doubters after the young lions revived their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages with victory over Sweden yesterday.

While a draw would not have been mathematically terminal, England were flirting with elimination before substitute Jesse Lingard volleyed home with only five minutes remaining.

Victory was England’s first at the tournament for six years and moved them above Sweden to second in the Group B table. Portugal remain top of the pile after playing out a 0-0 stalemate with Italy last night.

The result also ensured that England’s destiny is in their own hands. A win against the Italians in their final group match on Wednesday guarantees progress in the competition, while a draw may also be enough depending on other results.

“That [not winning at the tournament for six years] was always something that was going to be thrown at us after the first game [1-0 defeat to Portugal],” admitted Southgate.

“I would have to say there were plenty of other things thrown at us, so for the players I’m pleased they have answered that. We have got a foothold in the tournament now, it’s in our hands, but there is still a lot to do.

“We were confident before today and we knew it would be very difficult to break Sweden down but we’ve got there and it’s all in our hands now.”

Missed first-half chances from Tottenham striker Harry Kane and Derby midfielder Will Hughes looked costly until Lingard sent a late volley crashing past goalkeeper Patrik Carlgren from the edge of the box.

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