France Beat England to Win European U21s


Neal Maupay’s goal ten minutes from time won France their first UEFA U21 Championship since 1988 with a 1-0 victory over holders England in Plzen this afternoon. The two sides were evenly matched after four straight wins to take them to the Final, though France lost tournament top-scorer Yaya Sanogo in the Semi-Final with an arm injury.

England goalkeeper Aidan Grant faced his first serious test shortly after the half-hour mark when Baptiste Sanchez was played through by Philippe Pierre, but Grant was able to flick the ball wide as the Bordeaux striker went to round him and slot home.

Lucas Digne came closest to breaking the deadlock in a close-fought encounter when he hammered against the crossbar from six yards out as France were better in the air at their sixth corner of the match.

France looked the more likely to score, and the goal finally came when Saphir Taïder drilled a low shot at goal from the edge of the box. Grant managed to push it away but couldn’t hold on, and Maupay scored his fourth of the tournament by poking home the loose ball.

England pushed for a late equaliser, but couldn’t find it through Harry Kane or Thomas Ince, and were nearly caught on the break inside the final five minutes but a poor finish from Paul Pogba kept it at 1-0. French captain Kurt Zouma was voted man-of-the-match award and, moments later, lifted the trophy.