England U21 3-1 Czech Republic U21: Carsley's side storm to victory

England U21 3-1 Czech Republic U21: Lee Carsley’s side score three times in the first-half to storm to victory at Turf Moor as Anthony Gordon and Folarin Balogun net their first U21 goals

  • Anthony Gordon scored two goals in the first 11 minutes to put England 2-0 up
  • Folarin Balogun also scored his first goal at U21 level on the 30-minute mark 
  • Czech Republic got one back before half-time but couldn’t fight back  
  • Lee Carsley’s side are two points behind Czech Republic with a game in hand 

After only seeing their quality in patches so far this qualification campaign, Lee Carsley witnessed an authoritative dominance by England’s Under 21s as they took charge of the group.

They had to beat the Czech Republic last night and did so convincingly, making sure that October’s draw in Slovenia was merely a blip.

Debutant Anthony Gordon scored twice within 11 minutes, before Folarin Balogun notched on his first start at this level against a side that were yet to concede in qualifying.

England scored three goals in the first-half on their way to a victory over the Czech Republic

Anthony Gordon scored two goals within 11 minutes to give England U21’s a two-goal lead

Emile Smith Rowe’s promotion to the seniors gave Gordon the opportunity to flourish from the left, while Aston Villa’s Jacob Ramsey produced a timely display on the day Steven Gerrard was appointed his new manager at Villa Park.

Ramsey’s tenacity made the third goal, on the half-hour, as he turned over possession in midfield and slipped Balogun in. The Arsenal striker muscled Conor Gallagher out of the way to fire past Manchester United’s Matej Kovar.

Gordon’s deflected effort had given England an early lead – owing much to an intelligent off-the-ball dart by Cole Palmer – while Balogun had played his part in the winger’s second. Balogun started a move that saw Gordon, who had said on the eve of this that he must become a matchwinner, bundle in the second.

Folarin Balogun celebrates with Conor Gallagher after scoring a third goal for England

Adam Karabec won and scored a penalty five minutes before half-time but the hosts were always in control. Palmer, the Manchester City wide man, twice went close, while Balogun brought a smart save by Kovar.

Carsley had told Balogun last week that he was starting this crunch Euro 2023 qualifier in the absence of the suspended Rhian Brewster. And he did his case no harm, a presence up front as he linked play and occupied defenders to allow England’s runners to progress beyond him.

There will surely be clubs across Europe paying attention to the 20-year-old, whose reputation continues to grow at Arsenal but is probably in the need of consistent games. 

Clubs across Europe will be paying attention to Balogun who impressed on Thursday night

Lee Carsley’s side closed the gap to group leaders Czech Republic with a game-in-hand to play


England U21: Bursik, Aarons, Guehi, Harwood-Bellis, Thomas, Skipp, Ramsey, Gallagher, Gordon, Balogun (Gibbs-White 77), Palmer (Gomes 73)

Unused subs: Green, Griffiths, Doyle, Cresswell, Mola, Garner, Drameh

Goals: Gordon 4, 11, Balogun 30 

Czech Rep U21: Kovar, Gabriel, Vitik (Hranac 88), Knapik, Fukala (Jurasek 46), Kaloc, Zamburek, Karabec (Kohut 72) , Cvancara (Cerv 32), Sulc, Sejk (Koubek 72)

Unused subs: Jaros, Ostrak, Cerv, Sevcik, Krunert

Goal: Karabec 40 (pen)

Booked: Gabriel, Kaloc, Koubec  

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