International

England and Ross Barkley beaten in Nations League semi-final

Ross Barkley thought he had set up a winning goal for England in tonight’s UEFA Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands, but VAR intervened and the Dutch then scored twice in extra time to win 3-1.

Barkley, who completed the full two hours in England’s midfield, played an incisive pass to Lingard with seven minutes left and the scores locked at 1-1. The Manchester United man finished and the celebrations began, but a check by VAR revealed Lingard was offside by the narrowest of margins.

Marcus Rashford’s first-half penalty had been cancelled out by Matthijs de Ligt, and then in extra time individual mistakes, a theme of the evening, cost England dear. The inaugural Nations League winners will be either Portugal or the Netherlands.

In Guimaraes tonight, the first half was error-strewn but Barkley was certainly England’s most enterprising midfielder, helping to break the lines in possession as well as offering defensive cover when the Dutch had the ball.

It was from a mistake by De Ligt that England took the lead just after the half-hour. The highly-rated young Ajax defender let the ball roll under his foot and then felled Rashford, who made no mistake from 12 yards.

Barkley initiated a move from which only a superb tackle denied Rashford a second goal before the break. The Chelsea midfielder also made an important block on the stroke of half-time after England’s defence gave the ball away in a dangerous situation.

Jadon Sancho couldn’t score with a free header as Gareth Southgate’s side started the second half the stronger, but gradually the Dutch took control and duly levelled through De Ligt, who powered a header in from a corner with 73 minutes gone.

The Three Lions had by that stage switched from a three to a four in midfield, and it was from a central position that it looked like a sublime Barkley pass had set up Lingard for the winner. However, a very marginal VAR offside call ruled the goal out, and then the Netherlands had a VAR penalty appeal turned down.

Seven minutes of stoppage time produced a couple of chances at either end and a Raheem Sterling strike that skimmed the top of the crossbar, but there were no more goals and so, just like at last summer’s World Cup, an England semi-final headed to an additional 30 minutes.

And just as in Russia it was their opponents who scored the decisive third goal. John Stones turned his way into trouble and although Jordan Pickford made a superb stop to keep out Memphis Depay’s effort, the loose ball was bundled into the net, eventually credited as a Kyle Walker own goal.

In the second half of extra time the Netherlands made it 3-1 when Barkley misplaced a pass with his back to goal and Depay teed up Quincy Promes who volleyed in.

England will play Switzerland in the third/fourth place play-off on Sunday. 

Earlier on Thursday, Matt Miazga captained the United States for the first time as they were beaten 1-0 by a Jamaica side containing Michael Hector.

Miazga, who was most recently on loan at Reading, wore the armband for the first 67 minutes of his 13th cap before he was replaced by Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Jamaica, who featured Hector for the first 51 minutes, scored the only goal of this pre-Gold Cup friendly in Washington DC on the hour having created a number of chances prior to that.

Christian Pulisic was not involved but he has been confirmed in the US Gold Cup squad alongside Miazga. They start with a game against Guyana on 18 June.

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