Romania Beat England After Thrilling Finish at 2019 U21 European Championships

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

CESENA, ITALY - JUNE 21: Tudor Baluta of Romania U21 celebrates 1-0 during the  EURO U21 match between England  v Romania  at the Orogel Stadium-Dino Manuzzi on June 21, 2019 in Cesena Italy (Photo by Danilo Di Giovanni/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Romania secured a dramatic 4-2 win over England at the Under-21 UEFA European Championships on Friday, with all six goals coming after the 75th minute in an incredible conclusion to the game.

George Puscas' penalty and a brilliant goal from Ianis Hagi twice put Romania in front, only for Demarai Gray and Tammy Abraham to score immediate equalisers.

However, Romania were not to be denied in a thrilling finish, as an error from England goalkeeper Dean Henderson allowed Florinel Coman to score in the 88th minute to put his side back in front.

Abraham almost netted another equaliser for the Three Lions in stoppage time, but his header rattled the crossbar. That allowed Coman to add the gloss to the scoreline with his second of the day.

The loss sees England all but eliminated from the competition after two losses in two games; Romania face France in their final match, with a win enough to see them through to the semi-finals.

Former Sunderland goalkeeper David Preece reflected on a chaotic period of play: 

David Preece @davidpreece12

That is a ridiculous 20 minutes of football. 6 goals after 75 minutes and there could have been more.

Henry Winter of the Times thinks England manager Aidy Boothroyd will be under pressure after the loss: 

Henry Winter @henrywinter

England out. 4-2 final. Coman again. Brilliant strike. Chest, strike, ruthless. #eng defence ripped apart. Inevitably questions about Boothroyd now, and the players' use of possession. #U21Euro

The Sportsman broke down the frantic final 15 minutes of the match: 

The Sportsman @TheSportsman

😳⏰ All the goals in England v Romania... - 76': Puscas - 79': Gray - 85': Hagi - 87': Abraham - 88': Henderson OG - 90+3': Coman Unbelievable last 15 minutes! #ENGROM https://t.co/8gMisxb1Es

Having lost their opening game in dramatic fashion to France, the onus was on England to pick up a win in this fixture if they wanted to preserve their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition.

England rarely threatened despite their territorial dominance in the first half, with the better chances actually falling to Romania. Andrei Ivan should have put his side ahead after a defensive error from Jonjoe Kenny after just five minutes, but he was only able to rattle the post with his strike.

The game was a dull affair up until the 75th minute when Romania's opener ignited a frantic final 15 minutes.

Kenny was caught out again by the quick feet of Coman, who was brought down in the penalty area. Puscas was given the responsibility from the spot and coolly finished.

That lead didn't last long though, as Gray took it upon himself to fire England back into the game. The Leicester man darted infield from the left flank and whipped a brilliant strike beyond goalkeeper Andrei Radu:

Sky Sports Football @SkyFootball

HOPE FOR ENGLAND! Demarai Gray strikes back with a fine equaliser. Watch the European Under-21 Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football or follow our live blog here: https://t.co/UU3XzngrbV https://t.co/pychY3RWjr

With both teams pushing for a win, the contest was wide open and jaded players were beginning to make errors. England's Fikayo Tomori made a crucial one, as he gifted possession to Hagi on the edge of the penalty area and the Romanian waltzed into the penalty area to fire a low finish past Henderson.

England showed further resolve at this point, as Abraham latched onto Kenny's cross and finished low beyond the goalkeeper. But once again, the Three Lions failed to capitalise.

The goal came from another individual error, too. Henderson, who had excelled for England in the previous game against France, had a moment to forget, as Coman's low effort squirmed underneath him to put Romania back in front: 

Sky Sports Football @SkyFootball

Dean Henderson has made a howler here to all but give Romania the win! Just the third goal in the space of five minutes... Watch the European Under-21 Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football or follow our live blog here: https://t.co/UU3XzngrbV https://t.co/0fLGTO7Iz7

That goal ultimately proved to be decisive, and while England were inches away from another equaliser when Abraham headed against the woodwork, Romania remained a threat on the break, with Coman capping off a wonderful display with a terrific fourth. 

For England, the tournament has been a huge disappointment, as they were expected to rival France for top spot in the group. Meanwhile, Romania have showcased enough attacking potency to suggest they could be dark horses to win the competition.