England U19s secured their qualification for this year's European Championship Finals courtesy of a late goal from sub Saido Berahino at Deepdale, Preston last night but the Young Lions were made to work hard for their progress.
They beat a strong Switzerland team 1-0 in a nail biting game were the winner went through to the Finals.
Ross Barkley, Jake Bidwell, John Lundstram and Eric Dier played the full game in an England side packed with Toffeemen.
It was a largely equal first half, but the visitors looked the more dangerous in front of goal and Sam Johnstone was forced into the first save of the match after 16 minutes, when a free-kick from 25-yards from Joel Geissmann looked to be heading goalwards, but the England skipper did well to tip over the bar at full stretch.
If anything, it was England who came closest in the later stages though, as Ross Barkley embarked on a jinking run across the area before gradually finding enough space to wrap his left foot around the ball and send a low shot inches wide of the post.
With five minutes of stoppage time, the game was anyone's and the drama was complete in the 94th minute, as with the Swiss pushing for a winner, England clinically hit them on the break. Barkley picked the ball up on the halfway line and after drawing two defenders in, he slipped a pass to his left for Berahino and the West Bromwich Albion striker struck a low left-footer past Brecher and inside the far post to send England through to the Finals and the last eight of the competition.
They did it the hard way and Noel Blake will be under no illusions that his charges will need to find some extra form in the Finals, but with a chance for this year group to now make history by becoming the first team to win the Euros at U17 and U19 level, England will head east to Tallin in July in determined mood.
Well done lads! The future looks bright.
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