England U21 3-0 Albania U21: Lee Carsley’s side qualify for next summer’s Euros after a comfortable win when Arsenal star Folarin Balogun pockets a brace ahead of Cameron Archer’s clever late goal.
- England U21 were deserved winners as they defeated Albanian U21 comfortably 3-0
- Cameron Archer finished the game with a clinical end of the bench
- Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun was the star when he scored a poacher’s goal in each half.
- Emilie Smith-Rowe and Anthony Gordon also impressed for the Young Lions
England’s under-21 night secured their place at next summer’s European Championships rather than encapsulating the qualifying campaign overall.
England were patient, pushing clear of their opposition later in the evening after wearing them out, and England did not react to sharp antagonism. There were blows, some bruises. Albania – stubborn, lacking any real intent to attack – tried to kick as many members as possible and ended up with 10 men.
Both of those traits should serve Lee Carsley’s side well at the Euros this time next year. They’re there with a few games to spare after Folarin Balogun arranged this with two poaching endings, while Cameron Archer’s clever late-night film added brilliance.
Folarin Balogun wins an impressive stalker for the Young Lions to bring down Albania
Balogun went home for England’s second of the night as they came out comfortable winners
England U21 controlled the game from start to finish as Albania U21 struggled to make ends meet
“We shouldn’t take a qualification for granted,” Carsley said.
‘We have shown resilience and that we can control games. When a team is so deep, it’s important that you don’t get frustrated or force things. I want us to play attacking and be expressive, penetrate whenever we have a chance. ‘
Anthony Gordon, the Everton winger, was a bright light from the left side and caused undirected problems.
Albania often scored twice and it looked as if they would reach halftime boasting a clean sheet after Angel Gomes could only hit a post from a flowing one-touch team move.
Balogun notched his first and the Three Lions just before half-time on Tuesday evening
Anthony Gordon caused trouble for the Albanian defense all night with his speed and crossing
The visitors got a chance to pulling one back after 5 minutes, due to a defensive blunder leaving Adolf Selmani completely unmarked. His strike was pathetic though, easy prey for the home side’s keeper.
He might have averted danger if it weren’t for the tenacity of Emile Smith Rowe who, from the back of Friday’s stunning strike away in the Czech Republic, had robbed the center half of possession and England were in. Smith Rowe squared off for Arsenal team-mate Balogun. , waiting to be forced into an empty net.
That is when Albania began to attack and England looked like prey. Gordon was constantly hacked down.
“It’s easier said than done, but if someone kicks you, then take it as a compliment,” Carsley added. ‘Antonio was outstanding. You just have to keep giving him the ball. ‘
Gomes went on to fly into the top ten after a late shot and Balogun doubled his tally from the resulting free kick.
Morgan Gibbs-White’s cross was nodded back wide by Charlie Cresswell and Balogun waited to lead his sixth goal of that two-yard campaign. Archer impressed from the bench, instinctively hitting Gordon’s center to win a third, while Albania’s Armando Dobra later saw red.
Cameron Archer (right) celebrates after scoring England’s third goal against Albania U21s