International

Christian Pulisic off to a winning start but heartbreak for England Under-21s

We have international match news from the Gold Cup, the Copa America and the European Under-21 Championships…

Christian Pulisic was part of the United States side which made a very solid start to their Gold Cup campaign in Minnesota on Tuesday night.

The USA ran out 4-0 winners over Guyana in their opening match in the tournament for nations in the CONCACAF region, with Pulisic playing just over an hour.

The 20-year-old, who will be part of the Chelsea squad for the first time next season, returned to the US starting line-up for the Guyana game but Matt Miazga, who had begun their final warm-up game which had ended in defeat was on the bench.

An early Pulisic ball led to a handball penalty claim which was turned down and he was denied by a save shortly before the States established the one-goal led they took into half-time. Our January signing, who was looking for his 11th international goal which would have taken him into his country’s top-20 scorer list, had another shot saved just before the interval.
 

The USA made their superiority count with two second-half goals to make it 3-0 before Pulisic was withdrawn, and they added a fourth before the end with two of their strikes in the game coming from MLS players, Paul Arriola and Gyasi Zardes. Portugal-based Tyler Boyd netted twice.

Pulisic and his colleagues next play Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday. In one of the earlier group games in the tournament, Michael Hector was part of the Jamaica side which beat Honduras 3-2.

Read: Everything you need to know about the Gold Cup
 

England Under-21s defeated by late goals

Chelsea players made up three-quarters of a defence that for a long time looked like it was going to keep a clean sheet against the odds in England Under-21s’ European Championship opener, but in the end suffered a damaging 2-1 defeat.

Jay Dasilva at left-back and captain Jake Clarke-Salter and Fikayo Tomori in central defence all started the match against France in Cesena in Italy, with the other two Chelsea youngsters in the squad, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, introduced late on.
 

It was an even contest for much of the game with both sides missing chances but France were especially wasteful in not converting two penalties. The first, taken by former Fulham striker Moussa Dembele, was awarded for a handball in the first half by Clarke-Salter but was saved by Dean Henderson, the Man United keeper who has been on loan at Sheffield United.

England had earlier hit the post and our former striker Dominic Solanke had gone close before Dasilva created another good chance, and Aidy Boothroyd’s side did take the lead early in the second half with an individual effort from Man City’s Phil Foden.

However it was not long before the Young Lions conceded a penalty again and this time it also resulted in a red card for Hamza Choudhury, the Leicester midfielder. This time from the spot the French hit the post.

Mount and Abraham came on in quick succession to help England contain their opponents while still posing a threat and Mount, having only just entered the pitch, could have had a shot after a good move had he been in full flow.

England’s lead lasted until 89 minutes had been played. Lille’s Jonathan Ikone equalised and then came the cruel blow with 95 minutes on the clock when Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent the ball into his own net when trying to clear for a corner. 

With only the group winners and one second-place team from the three groups progressing straight to a semi-final stage, England can ill afford any more slip-ups when they play Romania, who won their first game, on Friday and Croatia on Monday.
 

Brazil at Copa America

In the Copa America, the South American nation championships, Willian remained on the bench as Brazil were held to a 0-0 draw by Venezuela in their second match of the tournament. The Chelsea man had played six minutes of a win over Bolivia at the weekend, with the Selecao’s performance that day drawing some criticism despite the 3-0 scoreline. Against the Venezuelans it was VAR that proved a big opponent with reviews ruling out two goals for offside.

Despite dropping points, Brazil, who are the host nation, are still well placed. They are level on points at the top of their group with next opponents Peru. Venezuela in third have two points less. Two teams qualify for the knockout stage with an opportunity for another if they are one of the two best third-place sides.
 

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