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Thursday, 06 June 2013 09:54

England U21 woeful against Italy

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England’s first game in the Under-21 European Championship kicked off with a 1-0 defeat against Italy.

The game was mainly a one sided affair, with the Italians showing their usual competence and ability on and off the ball. England did manage to keep the Italians in check until the last ten minutes of the game, when a Lorenzo Insigne free kick went sailing past English goalkeeper Jack Butland. Online betting operators would have pleasantly surprised by the result, after taking into account England coming into the tournament on a nine game unbeaten run.

England coach Stuart Pearce openly admitted that his team were ‘awful’ on the night, agreeing with pundits that their ‘performance was very poor’ and ‘the better team won’. The English coach took a philosophical approach to the entire affair, stating that nothing would be achieved by getting angry and the job at hand was now getting the squad ready mentally to tackle their next game in two days time. That next game is against Norway, a team that England should and would be expected to go on to win. After which Israel is the final game in this opening stage of the tournament, and expectations would therefore be for England to win these two games without too much effort.

Saying that, one must realise that no game at this level is easy. In fact Norway had to dig deep to get a 2-2 draw against Israel in their opening game on Wednesday. England will not only have to defend well and work hard for each other, but will need to inject some creativity in their game. It is true that we are without players like Phil Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Rodwell, but Stuart will have to adapt and change a few personnel and will be hoping that players like Thomas Ince, Wilfried and Raheem Sterling are fit.

England go against Norway on Saturday, Paddypower have Stuart Pearce’s team 3/4 favourites to beat Norway, and 9/1 to win the competition outright. Check out the online bookmaker for ‘betting in play’ markets as well, and make take advantage of the live action!