Necid hoists hosts past poor England
The Czech Republic staked an early claim to Group B supremacy as the tournament hosts overcame England with two second-half goals from Tomáš Necid.
The 18-year-old SK Slavia Praha centre-forward looked at home at the Střelnice Stadion where he played on loan with FK Jablonec 97 last season – and his double made it a perfect start to the UEFA European Under-19 Championship for Jakub Dovalil's side. The sendings-off of Jakub Heidenreich and Roman Brunclík were the only black marks against the Czech display.
Necid had served notice of his menace when hurrying England goalkeeper David Button to clear a back-pass, while England's first threat arrived with Daniel Sturridge's shot. Czech left-winger Martin Zeman might have done better than swing a right foot at a loose ball in England's box, but redeemed himself by delivering the corner from which Necid bulleted a header that was tipped over by David Button. The next corner heralded an almighty scramble too.
Hosts on top
As half-time approached, the hosts had gained the firmer foothold, largely through better use of the flanks. When England centre-back Krystian Pearce failed to deal with a bouncing ball, a shot seemed on for Jan Vošahlík but the striker slipped. The clever turns of forward Frederick Sears were rare sparks for England, though it took a brave defensive block to stop left-back Ryan Bertrand from scoring. That chance was less clear-cut that the one dragged wide by Vošahlík, however. Fair to say the opening period had quietly entertained the 6,153-strong crowd in Bohemia.
The second half began brightly, with England midfielders Daniel Gosling and Kieran Gibbs surging forward. A more menacing break by Necid, on to Zeman's raking pass, brought confusion as Pearce and Button left the job of clearing the ball to one another – Necid profited by nodding it past the goalkeeper, stranded on the edge of his area, and rolling it into an unguarded net. One became two after 58 minutes. Zeman whipped over a right-wing corner which the unmarked Necid volleyed in from close range. When yet another Zeman set-piece went uncleared, Heidenreich smashed a volley against the scoreboard – obliterating the 'nil' against England's name. It summed up the way the game had drifted away from Brian Eastick's team.
No way back
Sturridge nearly reduced arrears with a shot that Petr Reinberk kicked off his goalline. The No9 then sent a free-kick into keeper Tomáš Vaclík's midriff after Heidenreich had pulled down the marauding Gibbs, earning a second yellow card. Sears was also denied late on as England kept their heads up. But not even Brunclík's late dismissal could deny the Czechs.
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