England‘s Under-21 selection beat their Serbian counterparts 3-0 in front of a crowd of around 1,200 at the TSC Arena in Bačka Topola to boost their chances of automatic qualification for the 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, which is to be held in Slovakia.
England got off to a flying start thanks to Manchester City midfielder James McAtee, who is currently plying his trade on-loan at Sheffield United. He bagged an early brace of goals to quell the home fans and calm any England nerves.
The scoreline stayed at 2-0 to the visitors until ten minutes into the second half when Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott struck from range to put the result beyond doubt. England saw out the game to complete an emphatic double over the Serbs, who they had beaten 9-1 at The City Ground back in October.
Putting the pressure on Ukraine
The result leaves coach Lee Carsley’s England U21 team sitting in second place in qualification Group F after four matches. They are three points behind leaders Ukraine, who beat Luxembourg 4-0 the previous day. Only the top team will progress automatically to the finals. The second placed team will enter the play-offs.
England’s next fixture is against Northern Ireland at Goodison Park on Tuesday 21st November 2023. The Irish currently sit bottom of Group F with one win and three defeats from their opening four matches, so on paper it looks like it should be another straightforward win for Carsley’s boys.
It looks set to be a straight race between England and Ukraine for top spot in the group. The decisive match could well be Ukraine’s visit to England in October next year in the penultimate round of fixtures. England were narrowly beaten when they played their ‘away’ fixture against Ukraine last month, losing 3-2 with the winner coming deep into stoppage time. That match took place in Košice, Slovakia, due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.