England versus Germany, Semi-Final, Penalty-Shootout. We all knew the script. Germany defeated the Three Lions 4-3 on spot kicks to move into the Euro 2017 final.
In truth, England’s development side deserved to lose. Germany were slicker, sharper and, just, well better. Had they been vaguely competent at defending set-pieces, England would never have taken the game to extra time and a penalty shootout.
Sadly, that just delayed the inevitable defeat. The goals from Demarai Gray and Tammy Abraham were well taken, but Germany should have had far more to show for their dominance than the two they scored through Davie Selke and Felix Platte.
England lose on penalties to Germany… AGAIN.
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) June 27, 2017
For all the progress made, this was a sharp, stinging reminder of how much work still needs to be done. The gap between England and the top nations remains unbridged. If you are being positive, small advances have been made. After all, this was the first time the Under-21s had got out of their group for eight years and the Under-20 squad won their World Cup earlier this month, but it feels like we are clinging on to comfort rather than a persuasive argument.
⏰ RESULT ⏰
— UEFA U21 EURO (@UEFAUnder21) June 27, 2017
There was heartbreak in the end, frustration of sorts. Losing on penalties is always tough. Abraham and Nathan Redmond failed from the spot, but Germany missed so many chances in normal time, they would have felt cheated if they had not progressed to Friday’s final in Krakow.