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Pickford anchors Young Lions to semifinal berth

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England U-21s through to the knockout stage of the European Championship

England U21 v Switzerland U21 - European Under 21 Qualifier
Jordan Pickford
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

England’s Under-21 youth team yesterday booked a spot in the semi-final round of the Under-21 European Championships after a 3-0 win over Poland. Backstopped by Everton’s new goalkeeper signing Jordan Pickford and Mason Holgate at right back, the Young Lions go into the elimination round unbeaten and having conceded just once.

After a 0-0 draw in the opener against Sweden that was preserved by a penalty save from Pickford with just minutes to play, England beat Slovakia 2-1 in the next game before today’s romp against the hosts in Kielce sealed Group A.

Pickford caught the eye again today this time for his ball distribution, with his assured clearance finding Ben Chilwell deep down the left wing and his centered ball to Leicester City teammate Demarai Gray was curled home for the first goal of the game.

Sunderland fans are well aware of his abilities having watched him practice his ‘side-volleys’ again and again, both left-footed and right-footed, in pre-match warmups. Here’s the other ‘assist’ that he’s even more famous for -

Spain and Germany are the other teams to have just about made it into the next round despite there being one game left to play in Groups B and C of the twelve team tournament. The three group winners are assured of a spot in the semi-finals, with the fourth berth going to the best second-placed team in the group stages.