England Under-20s’ hopes of winning a fourth successive Toulon Tournament are over following a defeat on Tuesday night with three Chelsea players involved.
The Young Lions had lost their opener in the annual tournoi in France for squads in this age range but had hoped to bounce back against Portugal.
Trevoh Chalobah (pictured) captained the side and Conor Gallagher and Reece James both started but although England took an early lead through Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, Portugal scored three times before the interval to take a 3-1 half-time lead.
Gallagher set up a chance which was saved early in the second half before Joe Willock of Arsenal scored close to the end to reduce the deficit. A Portugal penalty was then saved in stoppage time after Chalobah was judged to have handled so the game ended 3-2.
In their first game on Saturday, England lost 2-1 despite also taking the lead when Chalobah headed home from a corner.
Their opponents on that occasion, Japan, ran out winners thanks to two second-half goals. Marc Guehi, who is the fourth Chelsea player in the squad but remained an unused sub against Portugal, went close to equalising when he headed just wide. James and Gallagher both remained on the bench in that opening match.
England play Chile in their final group game on Friday now knowing a semi-final place is beyond them.
Chalobah and James were both involved in Chelsea’s Final Whistle on Hate match in the United States having returned from season-long loans. Guehi was on the bench for the last Premier League game of the season at Leicester. Gallagher, the Academy Player of the Year, was among the subs for the Europa League final.