England U21 ends title drought

England U21 ends title drought

England U21 finally ends their title drought in the Euro Under-21, after winning against Spain U21, bagging the 2023 Euro Under-21 title. A 1-0 win for England ended their 39-year title drought in the Euro Under-21 contest. It was Curtis Jones’ goal in the first-half that gives England the advantage on that final match. This team last won the title during the 1984 edition of the contest, and have been on the rocks since then. For England‘s captain, Taylor Hardwood-Bellis, “it was our time”, as they finally reached success in the European Championship stage. It was a collective effort from the England squad that made them win the title. England have been dominant all throughout their campaign in the 2023 Euro Under-21, not conceding a single goal in the contest. This record makes it not surprising that England was able to clinch the title.

England U21 was saved by Trafford

England U21: James Trafford
Photo courtesy of PA Wire

James Trafford saved his squad by stopping Spain’s Abel Ruiz for his penalty shot, and Aimar Oroz’s follow-up. Trafford’s stop with those shots saved the day for England, proving that they are an unstoppable team. It was a thrilling 1-0 win for England, as Ruiz’s penalty shot happened during the 96th minute of the match. Penalties and England does not have a good relationship, so a penalty shot as late as the 96th minute becomes a fear for England. Fortunately though, their goalkeeper is loaded with skills and experience, which gave them a good chance of winning here. Even in the domestic league, he is doing really well, having a breakthrough season last season.

During the 1984 season where they last won the title, it was also against Spain, where they had a 3-0 aggregate win. According to Harwood-Bellis, they felt that this is the time to unfold another history for their squad. “We’ve been talking about it a lot, and we felt it was our time to do it. There was a lot of pressure on us to do well as we have a good team,” he said. He then commended his teammates, especially Trafford for the way they played on that final match. “Traff has to take a lot of the credit, but everyone has played their part. All the lads have pushed each other when they’ve not been playing. That’s something we take pride in,” he said.

As England remains to be one of the best teams in the Euro Under-21 despite not having a title for almost four decades. Since they are the newly crowned winners of this contest, the future looks bright for the England U21 squad.

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