Wounded Young Lions fancied to get back on track against Sweden
Right up until the day before the European Championships, preparations for England U21s had been going swimmingly.
But in the space of 48 hours, everything had fallen apart. Defender John Stones, one of their key defenders, has to miss the first two games of the tournament after suffering concussion and key striker Saido Berahino had to be sent home after injuring a knee in training, disrupting Gareth Southgate’s tactics.
For the first time in more than a year, Southgate’s side then failed to find the net in their opening game against Portugal and, to make matters worse, conceded a second-half goal which means that they are already in a sudden-death scenario as they get ready to face Sweden in Olomouc.
Wolves’ striker Benik Afobe, who was prolific in the Football League last season, has been flown out to join up with the Young Lions in the Czech Republic as Berahino’s replacement and he could go straight into the team to take on the Swedes, who beat Italy in their opening encounter and would probably be happy with a draw against England. Though a place on the bench is more likely with Danny Ings likely to start this time alongside Harry Kane in attack.
But England, though not disgraced, were rather caught cold in their first game and should be better prepared for this one. They still have a strong squad, better than the Swedes on paper, and can get back on track with three points at 3/4. Both teams to score is 4/5.
The match kicks off at 5.00pm on Sunday, June 21st at the Ander Stadium, Olomouc