England Under-21s beaten by Switzerland in Euro 2021 opener after late Dan Ndoye strike

Mauro Lustrinelli’s side outplayed the Young Lions to leave Aidy Boothroyd’s side with an uphill battle

Nick Mashiter
Thursday 25 March 2021 17:06
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<p>England react after Dan Ndoye hands Switzerland victory</p>

England react after Dan Ndoye hands Switzerland victory

Lacklustre England Under-21s suffered a nightmare start to Euro 2021 with a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland.

Nice striker Dan Ndoye’s late winner condemned the Young Lions to Group D defeat in Koper on Thursday.

Bastien Toma also hit a post for Switzerland while Andi Zeqiri was denied by Aaron Ramsdale in a deserved win for Mauro Lustrinelli’s side.

The extended tournament means the top two from the groups will qualify for the quarter-finals in May but Aidy Boothroyd’s men now face an uphill battle ahead of games against Portugal on Sunday and Croatia next Wednesday.

They will have to improve after defeat in Slovenia, with Lloyd Kelly heading their best chance wide in the first half.

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Switzerland lost just once in qualifying from Group Two, finishing behind France on goal difference, to reach the finals for the first time in 10 years and they gave the Young Lions the first scare after 14 minutes.

It was all of England’s own making as Ben Godfrey gifted the ball to Toma who fed Zeqiri but the Brighton forward shot too close to Ramsdale with just the goalkeeper to beat.

A minute later Tom Davies swept over from 20 yards and Callum Hudson-Odoi curled wide soon after but, driven by the impressive Toma, Switzerland had gained a grasp of the game.

The Young Lions dominated the early possession but the Swiss had the better chances and Ramsdale turned Ndoye’s drive behind before Zeqiri headed wide after 28 minutes.

Kelly did head off target five minutes later but, against the disciplined Swiss, England struggled to find any serious attacking rhythm.

Boothroyd’s side also continued to give Switzerland openings and they escaped five minutes after the break.

Davies wasted possession and, when Jeremy Guillemenot crossed, the onrushing Toma hit a post from 10 yards.

It was another let-off and, while Hudson-Odoi’s free kick was turned wide by Anthony Racioppi, England never got going in the second half.

Ramsdale saved Kastriot Imeri’s low effort but Switzerland grabbed a deserved winner with 13 minutes left.

Imeri laid the ball off for Ndoye and, despite slipping as he shot, the striker’s effort from the edge of the area looped into the top corner.

PA

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