PREVIEW: England U21’s vs Romania U21’s

England will be looking to get back to winning ways when they face Romania in their second 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group C clash in Cesena on Friday (21 June).

The Young Lions fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat in their tournament opener against France, despite leading until the 89th minute. Manchester City’s Phil Foden scored a stunner to give England the lead just before the hour mark. Jonathan Ikone levelled late on before Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s own-goal gave Le Bleus all three points.

Romania, on the other hand, started the Championships with a win. Goals from George Puscas, Ianis Hagi, Tudor Cristian Baluta and Adrian Petre sealed a convincing victory over Croatia to give them the perfect start in Group C.

England will be without the suspended Hamza Choudhury, who was sent off after a rash challenge on Jonathan Bamba in the Young Lions’ defeat on Tuesday night. Despite losing the match, the Young Lions can take many positives from it, especially during the first half. They lacked potency up-front but the build-up from the midfield was promising, and if they can produce that against Romania then they’ll create chances.

But the Romanian’s are a tough team to beat. They have won five of their last seven matches – scoring 17 goals in the process and are brimming with belief after their victory against the Croatians.

When was their last meeting?

England last met Romania back in March 2018 as Aidy Bothroyd’s side came away with a hard-fought 2-1 friendly victory at Molinuex. Demarai Gray gave the Young Lions the lead early on before Jake Clarke-Salter doubled their advantage. Valentin Costache pulled one back for the Romanians but it was too little too late.

Key player for each side?

Romania – Ianis Hagi

A quick and technical attacking midfielder, Ianis Hagi is undoubtably Romania’s best player. The 20-year-old is the son of footballing legend, Gheorghe Hagi with many tipping the youngster to reach the heights of what his father achieved. The midfielder scored Romania’s second against Croatia and showed moments of brilliance during a fiercely contested clash in San Marino. Hagi will be full of confidence going into the game – and he is someone that England need to stop on Friday.

England – Dean Henderson

Despite conceding two late goals against France, Dean Henderson was outstanding for the Young Lions. The Manchester United ‘keeper pulled off some outstanding stops including Moussa Dembele’s penalty in which Henderson guessed the right way and saved to his left. Henderson had a superb season on-loan at Sheffield United where he helped the Blades to promotion to the Premier League, and he’s a player that is on top form.

What time is kick-off?

Friday, 21 June 2019

  • 5:30pm (BST)
  • 6:30pm (CEST)

The stadium?

England will face Romania in the Dino Manuzzi Stadium, Cesena. The stadium holds a capacity of just over 20,000, and is the home of A.C. Cesena.

This is quite potentially a must-win match for England. After such a devastating setback against France, can the Young Lions bounce back? They’ll be eliminated if they fall to defeat against Romania. A big, big game.  

featured image credit sky sports