Israel U21s 1-0 England U21s: Lackluster Young Lions finish bottom of the group

Matthew Harold
Pearce to leave England Under-21 role

England’s under-21 side will leave the Euro 2013 tournament pointless after a late Ofir Krieff strike helped host Israel claim a 1-0 victory.

After defeats to both Italy and Norway ended the hopes of the Young Lions making it to the semifinal, they will travel home, with only a Craig Dawson penalty to show for their efforts in the competition.

Israel coach Guy Luzon made four changes from the side that lost 4-0 to Italy, with Eliazer Dasa, Mohammad Kalibat and Taleb Twatha missing out, while Eyal Golasa was suspended, with Ofir Davidzada, Ofer Verta, Sintayehu Sallalich and Munas Dabbur coming in.

With England eliminated from the tournament, Stuart Pearce could make a radical revamp, with seven changes in total, which included Middlesbrough stopper Jason Steele taking over the goalkeeper jersey, while Andre Wisdom stepped into the defense and took over the captaincy.

The opening stages of the game were played more like a pre-season friendly, with the Young Lions' bags already packed to head home, while the hosts would require a minor miracle to make it through to the next stage.

Israeli keeper Boris Kleyman almost gave his side a huge scare for his side with 18 minutes gone, as he fumbled a Danny Rose corner from the left, but managed to clear before Tom Lees could turn and get a strike on goal.

A couple of minutes later the home side went up the other end of the park and Sintayehu Sallalich managed to call Steele into action as he tried his luck after cutting in from the right wing, but the English stopper palmed the ball away for a corner.

Just after the half hour mark, England should have taken the lead, when Wilfried Zaha played through Tom Ince, but Kletman stood strong to deny the midfielder and also recovered in time to save the rebound from Zaha.

England came out with an attacking intent at the start of the second half, as Wickham struck towards goal after receiving a pass from Zaha, but the striker was denied in his efforts to get the opener, as the Israeli defense blocked the attempt.

With 10 minutes gone in the second period, home skipper Nir Biton almost had a contender for goal of the tournament, as he picked the ball 25-yards out from goal and smashed it over the outstretched arms of Steele, but it cannoned off the bar.

The hosts were almost handed the opener, as Steele ran out of his box to clear a through ball, but his clearance landed at the feet of Israel Zaguri, but his attempted lob towards goal was palmed away by the keeper as he made his way back into his box.

They did finally manage to break open the England defense with 11 minutes left as Biton played in Omri Altman and he slid the ball to the right for Krieff, who curled the ball in-between two defenders and beyond Steele.

England continued to push forward for the closing stages of the game, but couldn't find a way to prevent the embarrassment of leaving the tournament with no points.