England are through to the final of the Under-19 European Championships for the first time in five years.

It has been a convincing campaign in Slovakia for the Young Lions as they look to recreate the success of the 2017 class. They topped their group with wins over Austria, Serbia and Israel before beating Italy in the semi-final to maintain their perfect record en route to the final, conceding just one goal along the way.

How to follow on Sky Sports

You can follow England’s Under-19 European Championships final against Israel on Friday with Sky Sports’ dedicated live blog from 6pm; kick off at 7pm.

England will play Israel in the final at the Anton Malatinsky Stadium in Trnava on Friday, hoping they can overcome this year’s surprise package for a second time to take home the trophy. Israel’s previous best performance at this tournament was reaching the group stage, while England are preparing for their fourth final in the competition, although the Young Lions have only ever won the U19 Euros on one other occasion.

  • England’s Young Lions through to U19 Euro final after Italy comeback
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The last time the Young Lions tasted success in the U19 Euros, the squad which beat Portugal in the final included Mason Mount, Reece James and Aaron Ramsdale, all of whom have gone on to become senior internationals for England under Gareth Southgate. Can this group of Young Lions follow in their footsteps?

England's previous success at youth tournaments

  • Winners of U20 World Cup in 2017 (beating Venezuela 1-0 in final)
  • Winners of U19 Euros in 2017 (beating Portugal 2-1 in final)
  • Winners of U17 World Cup in 2017 (beating Spain 5-2 in final)

Players to look out for

Carney Chukwuemeka (Aston Villa, 18)

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Chukwuemeka has been England’s star turn at the Euros so far this summer, delivering two goals and two assists in the group stages after his breakout season with Aston Villa. He made 12 appearances in the Premier League this season, and his experience at senior level seems to be setting him apart from his contemporaries in Slovakia.

The Austrian-born midfielder has posed a real threat going forward, with his late runs into the box often ending with a goal or an assist for the teenager. Chukwuemeka’s imposing frame coupled with his close control of the ball make it almost impossible for rivals to shrug him off the ball inside the area. And his goal in the 4-0 win over Serbia – steering the ball beyond the goalkeeper with a side-footed effort – showed he is no slouch when it comes to finishing.

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Who is England U19 boss Ian Foster?

Foster was part of Steve Cooper’s England U17 coaching staff in 2017 when they won the World Cup in India. He later earned the role as England U18 manager during a period of disruption to the schedule due to Covid-19, but oversaw a record of seven wins and two draws in nine games and was later promoted to U19 manager.

The season ahead promises to be a big one for Chukwuemeka at Villa as manager Steven Gerrard needs to convince the teenager, who has a year left on his contract, that he will get the game time he feels he deserves. There is reportedly interest in the midfielder from Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Alfie Devine (Tottenham, 17)

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Midfielder Devine became Tottenham’s youngest player and goalscorer during an FA Cup third-round tie against non-league side Marine in January 2021 aged 16 and is making waves at this summer’s tournament in Slovakia. His second-half strike against Austria in the opening group-stage game has been the pick of the bunch for England at this summer’s U19 Euros. He has also demonstrated his ability to deliver from set-pieces, with his out-swinging corner setting up Alex Scott to equalise in Tuesday’s semi-final against Italy.

Devine has a contract until 2024 at Spurs and is said to be highly thought of by head coach Antonio Conte. Reports suggest he could be set for a loan move next season, as Spurs look to replicate a similar pathway to that of Troy Parrott and Oliver Skipp, who have spent time at MK Dons and Norwich respectively.

Dane Scarlett (Tottenham, 18)

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Tottenham striker Scarlett is England’s joint-highest scorer at the tournament on two goals, alongside Chukwuemeka, after his double against Serbia in the second group game. The 18-year-old has been England’s go-to striker thus far at the Euros and is expected to start against Israel on Friday, having done so in three of the first four matches.

Jose Mourinho handed Scarlett his Premier League debut against West Brom in February 2021, with the former Spurs boss saying: “I wanted to be the one to put him on in a Premier League match”. The teenage striker signed a fresh contract at Spurs in May which keeps him at the club until the summer of 2026. He made seven first-team appearances over the course of the campaign.

Harvey Vale (Chelsea, 18)

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Vale, a highly-rated midfielder from Chelsea’s academy, has captained England in three of the four matches at this summer’s Euros. It was his corner that led to the winner against Italy in Tuesday’s semi-final with just eight minutes remaining.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel handed Vale his senior debut in December 2021 in the quarter-final of the EFL Cup, as he started in a 2-0 win against Brentford.

Aaron Ramsey (Aston Villa, 19)

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Villa midfielder Ramsey – brother to Jacob – has spent the season on loan at Cheltenham Town in League One, scoring and assisting once in 15 appearances. The 19-year-old who, along with Chukwuemeka and Tim Iroegbunam, makes up a trio of Villa players in the midfield, has operated as a No 10 in Slovakia. He was unlucky not to score in the opening 2-0 win over Serbia, hitting the post in the second half.

Route to the final

Group B final standings

Teams Games Played Won Drawn Lost Points
1) England 3 3 0 0 9
2) Israel 3 1 1 1 4
3) Austria 3 1 0 2 3
4) Serbia 3 0 1 2 1

England 2-0 Austria – Sunday June 19 (Group B)

England got their campaign off and running with a 2-0 win over Austria thanks to goals from midfielders Carney Chukwuemeka (43) and Alfie Devine (65) either side of half-time. Aston Villa’s Chukwuemeka opened the scoring after a one-two with Tottenham Dane Scarlett, finishing with ease after a cut back from the striker. It was Chukwuekmeka at the heart of things for the second goal after some neat footwork allowed him to tee up Spurs’ Devine to fire his powerful effort into the top corner of the goal.

England manager Ian Foster was pleased to see his side get over the line after what he described as “a slower performance” in the 29 degrees celsius heat. But he said it was to be expected with his squad at varying levels of fitness due to different regular-season schedules.

England 4-0 Serbia – Wednesday June 22 (Group B)

Image:
Dane Scarlett celebrates with Carney Chukwuemeka

England began to hit their stride in game two as they hit Serbia for four to confirm their place in the semi-finals of the competition while also ensuring qualification to next year’s U20 World Cup. Scarlett opened his account for the tournament with two goals against Serbia (5,40). Chukwuemeka doubled his tally in Slovakia with a cool finish into the bottom corner (68), before Sheffield United striker Daniel Jebbison (90+1) made it 4-0 in stoppage time off the bench.

Scarlett described it as the “perfect” performance, while manager Foster said he was “proud of the players” for qualifying for 2023 U20 World Cup and reaching the semi-final stage.

Israel 0-1 England – Saturday June 25 (Group B)

With qualification already assured, Foster made seven changes for England’s final group game against Israel and the Young Lions managed to maintain their perfect record with a 1-0 win. Manchester City striker Liam Delap – son of former Stoke defender Rory – scored the only goal of the game six minutes in as he struck a powerful effort beyond Israel goalkeeper Tomer Zarfati into the roof of the net.

Foster said his side could have been more ruthless, but added: “If someone would’ve offered me nine points, three clean sheets, no injuries, no suspensions, I would have absolutely bitten your hand off.” Match-winner Delap said after the game that England can “100 per cent” win the tournament, as he praised the “togetherness and spirit around the camp”.

England 2-1 Italy – Tuesday June 28 (Semi-final)

Image:
Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah headed in England's winner against Italy on Tuesday

Tuesday’s semi-final against Italy represented England’s biggest test of the tournament. England were able to survive an early scare to come from behind and beat the Italian’s 2-1 in a dramatic win to secure their place in the final against Israel. Italy midfielder Fabio Miretti, already part of Juventus’ senior side, gave Italy the lead from the penalty spot (12). But England clawed their way back into the game with two headed goals from corners by Bristol City midfielder Alex Scott (58) and Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah (82) in the second half.

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