Romania punished a sloppy England performance with a stunning burst of late goals to seal their place in the semi-finals, whilst Aidy Boothroyd’s men are all but eliminated from the competition.
A boisterous atmosphere in Cesena made for an enthralling first-half of football, but despite having the lions share of possession England struggled to carve out many clear cut opportunities and it was instead Romania who came closest to opening the scoring. Andrei Ivan struck the post in the opening minutes before Dennis Man’s effort was correctly ruled out for offside, as Romania thrived on the counter-attack.
England came out with more verve and vigour in the second-half, rising to the occasion and creating chances to spark hope of a revival, but it would once again be individual errors that cost Aidy Boothroyd’s men the three points they so desperately needed.
An extraordinary final fifteen minutes produced six goals in total, and it could well have been more. Jonjoe Kenny’s lazy tackle handed George Puscas the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot, which he did so with consummate ease. Demari Gary, who had looked dangerous all game, then dragged England level minutes after Puscas’ opener, curling past Ionut Radu in the Romanian net before Ianis Hagi pounced on a mistake by Fikayo Tomori to restore Romania’s lead. Tammy Abraham fired England back to within touching distance of victory, but a late double from Florinel Coman has now virtually resigned England to an early exit.
Dean Henderson - 6
As he did against France the other night, Henderson was on hand to pull off a spree of fine saves to keep England in the game. It wasn’t to be third time lucky for the Manchester United keeper from the spot, as Puscas dispatched his penalty confidently. Despite his earlier heroics he will be haunted by the image of Florinel Coman’s long range strike squirming under this body to give Romania the lead again.
Jonjoe Kenny - 4
Up until the moment of the penalty his positioning had looked shaky and he was resolutely punished for it after making a lunging challenge on Coman.
Fikayo Tomori - 5
He looked composed and powerful for much of the game, restricting the space in behind, but like Henderson he fell victim to a catastrophic lapse in concentration flicking aimlessly at the ball and in turn allowing Hagi to collect and fire into the bottom corner.
Jake Clarke-Salter - 6
Picked up an assist late on, but was exploited in the latter stages of the game for his inability to play out from the back under pressure. England’s backline play a style that like the senior squad requires a high level of technical proficiency which many players don’t possess.
Jay Dasilva - 6
Began to find space and time on the ball as Romania started defending more narrowly. Having failed to really push forward in the first-half Dasilva was eventually able to produce an impressive five key passes before being withdrawn for Tammy Abraham.
Mason Mount - 6
Romania’s two deep lying midfielders contained Mount’s creative influence, and England were missing the sort of late runs in to the box that he should have been offering. His assist counted for very little in the end as his overall impact was insufficient.
Kieran Dowell - 5
The similarities that can be drawn between tonight’s performance and that of the senior squad in last month’s Nations League fixtures is unparalleled. Dowell is yet another creative midfielder who lacks the cutting edge to punish teams, and the only player who seems capable of actually shining in such a role at the moment is Phil Foden.
James Maddison - 7
With England committing huge numbers forward Maddison needed to take more care in possession, as his loose passes meant Romania could counter quickly and effectively. Foden’s runs in and around him created the space for him to cause Romania issues, and he grew into the game after the break.
Demari Gray - 8
By far one of the sharpest players in an England shirt, picking up the ball on the turn and making incisive runs from out to in. He was also able to beat his man down the line, showing great acceleration in the process. Produced a wonderful whipped effort to restore parity just moments after falling behind.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 5
Starved of opportunities and for the ones that came his way he was caught flat footed more often than not.
Harvey Barnes - 5
Nearly caught out Radu with a defected effort midway through the first-half, but he struggled to get on the ball as Jay Dasilva failed to offer support on the overlap. The Leicester wide man was replaced at half-time as a result of his waining influence on the game.
Ryan Sessegnon – N/A, picked up an injury just minutes after coming on, coming off for Phil Foden.
Phil Foden – 7.5, Sessegnon’s misfortune was Foden’s gain, and within moments of taking to the field he had stung the palms of Radu. Continued to create chances for his teammates, and was perhaps one of the few bright sparks of the match and the tournament in general.
Tammy Abraham – 7, scored what turned out to be a consolation goal. His finishing overall however was symptomatic of a wasteful England performance, as the Chelsea forward spurned two superb chances in front of goal.