Pearce slams England after Euro Championship starts with defeat

ENGLAND 0 vs ITALY 1

ENGLAND Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce conceded his team were “awful” in their opening European Championship match in Israel last night, but still retains hope of reaching the semi-finals.

The Three Lions were outplayed by Italy, who got their winner when Lorenzo Insigne curled in a stunning free-kick late on.

However, Pearce believes his side can still progress from Group A.

“We were awful, but I don’t have to tell the players that,” he said.

“Maybe it was nerves in the first game of the tournament?

“We looked stagnant and we didn’t have the legs to run in behind them and stretch the game.

“But all you have to do in tournament football is get out the group. We have two games coming up against Norway and Israel and I think we have to win both of them.”

In a flat first half, Italy were denied a penalty when Alessandro Florenzi was seemingly fouled by Liverpool defender Jack Robinson.

After the break, it was England’s turn to feel aggrieved when Craig Dawson’s goal was disallowed for an apparent foul in the build up.

But on 79 minutes Italy got the goal their dominance deserved when forward Insigne curled a 20-yard effort past goalkeeper Jack Butland.