Euro U21 - England exit finals with humiliating defeat to Israel

European Under-21 Championship, Group A - Israel 1 (Krieff 80) England 0

Euro U21 - England exit finals with humiliating defeat to Israel

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England slumped out of the European Under-21 Championships with a 1-0 loss to host nation Israel in Jerusalem - a humiliating third straight defeat.

Stuart Pearce's side arguably played their best stuff of the tournament in patches against Group A's supposedly weakest team, but they still came up short after a 1-0 reverse to Italy and a 3-1 humbling by Norway left them with only pride to play for.

Ofir Krieff's strike from 22 yards settled matters in Israel's favour when he accepted a pass from substitute Ahad Azam to wallop a shot beyond the England goalkeeper Jason Steele on 80 minutes.

England became only the second country in the history of these finals to depart the tournament without a victory as they emulated Israel's winless sequence of 2007.

For the record, Italy topped Group A after Andrea Bertolacci's late header earned his side a 1-1 draw with Norway in Tel Aviv after Stefan Strandberg had struck the opening goal from the penalty spot.

Italy reach the semi-finals on seven points as group winners with Norway progressing on five. Israel declared on three with England left pointless in more ways than one.

Despite having plenty of possession, England failed to penetrate the home side with any real purpose and were punished heavily when Krieff settled the match in favour of the hosts, whose coach Guy Luzon departs the scene to take charge of Belgian side Standard Liege after this success.

He celebrated like there was no tomorrow by racing onto the pitch as Pearce looked on with a sense of depressing inevitability governing his mood.

Much will be made of the absence of figures such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck and Jack Rodwell and the role the Football Association have played in contributing to the embarrassment, but the men who lined up for this match also have to take their share of the blame for losing in such a galling manner.

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They had enough of a rich blend on the field to take care of an Israel side, most of whom play in their country's domestic league.

But England lacked any real authority on a sweat-ridden evening assuming plenty of exertion, but little finesse.

Andre Wisdom of Liverpool captained England while Middlesbrough's Jason Steele replaced Jack Butland in goal. Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne, Leeds United's Tom Lees, Chelsea's Josh McEachran, Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey and Connor Wickham of Sunderland were also handed starts. Most were disappointing.

Goodness knows what Jonjo Shelvey was doing seconds before the goal as he let Krieff wander away from him before the home side claimed the win.

Tracking runners is a basic tenet of football at any level, but it was sadly beyond a figure who represents Liverpool in the Premier League.

In the most memorable moments of the evening, goalkeeper Boris Kleyman made two saves in the first half to prevent Tom Ince and Wilfred Zaha from scoring.

But the home side provided indication of what was to come in the second half with Nir Biton thumping a shot off the bar from 30 yards and Steele scrambling backwards to claw away a Yisrael Zaguri effort before the solitary goal arrived in the game's death throes.

Pearce refused to defend the level of performance by his England players. His body language suggests he will depart the scene after six years in the post and four appearances at these finals.

He described the performance as "poor". It is difficult to argue otherwise.

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Ben Harush - A competent performance at the heart of the Israel defence as he managed to repel a series of shots with his frame, a theme always notable throughout the match. But he was helped by England being a predictable lot. And not just in this match.



England: Steele 5, Clyne 5, Rose 5, Lees 5, Wisdom 7, McEachran 5 Chalobah 5, Shelvey 4, Ince 5, Zaha 5, Wickham 5..subs: Henderson 5, Sordell 6, Redmond 6

Israel: Kleyman 7, Davidzada 6, Vahaba 6, Verta 6, Ben Harush 7, Zaguri 7, Biton 6, Sallalich 6, Krieff 7, Dabbur 5, Turgeman 6..subs; Barouch 6, Azam 6, Altman 6

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