England Fail to Secure Automatic Toulon Qualification Despite Big Win over Qatar

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2018

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 24:  Tammy Abraham of England shoots past Alex Pascanu of Romania during the International Friendly between England U21 and Romania U21 at Molineux on March 24, 2018 in Wolverhampton, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

England will be made to wait to see if they have progressed into the semi-finals of the Toulon Tournament despite a 4-0 against Qatar on Friday.

After a disappointing beginning to the game, the Three Lions finally found a way through thanks to a stroke of luck, as Ahmed Suhail diverted a header past his own goalkeeper.

England were much improved after the break and knowing they needed four more goals to usurp Mexico on goal difference at the top of the group, continued to fly forward. A stunner from Ronaldo Vieira and strikes from Tammy Abraham and Adam Armstrong gave them a 4-0 lead.

In the end, despite some heavy pressure, they were unable to get the fifth goal that would've secured qualification and now must wait on other results to see if they're the best of the three teams in the second spot in their respective groups.

As noted by the SNS Group Twitter account, new Rangers manager and former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was keeping an eye on the action:

With England needing to rack up the goals to usurp Mexico in top spot, there should've been intent aplenty in the early stages of the match. However, that surge failed to materialise.

The most likely goalscorer for the Three Lions early on looked to be Abraham, as he sought to take the game to the Qatar defenders. 

The Chelsea man first saw a shot deflected wide after a bustling run and he then forced a mistake from the goalkeeper that should've resulted in a goal.

Abraham was causing plenty of problems for Qatar.
Abraham was causing plenty of problems for Qatar.Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

From the resultant set-piece, England did eventually get their noses in front. Lukas Nmecha leapt highest in the penalty area and pounded a header towards goal; the effort flicked off Suhail and beyond the reach of goalkeeper Shehab Mamdouh. 

England came close to doubling their advantage not long after the opener, although Tom Pearce could only watch on as his free-kick crashed off the post.

Per JRSG, despite being in front at half-time, Boothroyd's team still had a lot of work to do ensure automatic qualification:

The England coach reacted at the break with the introduction of Jay Dasilva and Lewis Cook. Suddenly there was a lot more impetus from the team.

After a flurry of excellent chances, Vieira was able to double England's advantage with a piledriver of a strike from 25 yards out. Joe Urquhart of the Yorkshire Evening Post was impressed with the goal:

Joe Urquhart @JoeUrquhartYEP

Ronaldo Vieira has just scored an absolute worldie for England. 20/25 yards out and just smashes it past the goalkeeper. Emphatic. 2-0. #lufc

Suddenly, there was renewed belief in the Three Lions that they could get the goals needed and every time they ventured forward they looked capable of scoring. A third followed not long after too, as Abraham was on hand to tuck home Armstrong's cross after a fine move.

Having put so much into the first period, Qatar were beginning to look a little jaded, but there was no mercy from England, as they sensed blood.

The fourth of the evening summed up the state of both sides, as Armstrong latched onto the ball in the penalty area following some tired defending and finished emphatically. It put them level with El Tri on points and goal difference, although Mexico still had an advantage on goals scored.

Boothroyd's side were unable to grab an important fifth goal.
Boothroyd's side were unable to grab an important fifth goal.Gareth Copley/Getty Images

As the clock ticked down the Three Lions couldn't force the ball over the line again, as they were denied brilliantly by Mamdouh on numerous occasions.

England now must hope both Scotland and Togo don't win their final Group B matches. If they do, the Three Lions will have to hope their +5 goal difference will be enough to move on to the semis and defend the title they won a year ago.