England’s under-20 men’s national team were knocked out of the 2019 Toulon Tournament on Tuesday after being beaten 3-2 by Portugal to slip to their second defeat in two games in France.
The holders took the lead after just eight minutes through Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah, but Portugal hit back when Marcos Nascimento beat goalkeeper Ryan Schofield at his near post.
Portugal then scored twice in three minutes at the end of the first half to take control of the match. Goncalo Cardoso headed a deep cross past Schofield before Felix Correira volleyed home a cross from the right.
England came into the match aiming to bounce back from an opening defeat to Japan, and manager Paul Simpson made nine changes to his starting XI:
Our #YoungLions are up against Portugal in their second @TournoiMRevello game. Kick-off is at 6pm. You can watch live on @FreeSports_TV. https://t.co/gwm5l8Mosd
The Young Three Lions were fortunate to avoid conceding after just two minutes, as Portugal midfielder Samuel Costa fired into the side-netting from close range.
Yet it was England who went on to strike first after some bright attacking play. Nketiah originally struck the crossbar from close range, but Portugal failed to clear their lines and the Arsenal man pounced on a loose ball and fired home:
beIN SPORTS USA @beINSPORTSUSA
🏴 Third time’s the charm for the Three Lions! Eddie Nketiah scores to give @England an early 1-0 lead over @selecaoportugal after a wild scramble in front of goal. @TournoiMRevello #TMR2019 https://t.co/DeDpF0ed3x
England’s lead only lasted until midway through the first half when Nascimento squeezed a shot past Schofield at his near post for Portugal’s first goal of the tournament:
FreeSports 📺 @FreeSports_TV
⚽ Portugal equalise through Do Nascimento after a bright start from England Currently England 1-1 Portugal #ENGPOR #TMR2019 https://t.co/VmiTHr10MF
Vitor Ferreira then went close to firing Portugal into the lead with a shot that flashed just wide of Schofield’s post.
It was to prove only a reprieve for England as Portugal scored from the resulting corner. The ball was played back to Nuno Tavares to deliver a dipping cross for Cardoso to beat Schofield and head home.
Portugal then extended their advantage with the best goal of the game. Tomas Tavares dinked a cross to an unmarked Correira to volley home at the far post:
FreeSports 📺 @FreeSports_TV
❌ It goes from bad to worse for England as they concede 2 goals in 3 minutes! 👌 A very well worked goal sees Portugal lead 3-1 right before HT #ENGPOR #TMR2019 https://t.co/w7lKyyjUSW
England tried to get back into the game after the break and might have pulled one back through the lively Nketiah.
He showed great skill to take the ball on his chest and fire goalwards but was denied by goalkeeper Joao Valido.
Nketiah did manage to get the ball in the back of the net on 65 minutes from close range, but his effort was correctly chalked off for offside.
Portugal frustrated England in the second half by slowing the game down, although Simpson’s side did pull one back late on when Joe Willock bundled the ball home from close range.
England also needed substitute goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe to save a stoppage-time penalty from Umaro Embala, but it was not enough for the holders as their hopes of retaining their crown slipped away.
Both teams play their final game of Group A on Friday. England take on Chile, while Portugal face Japan.