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Young Lions look overrated in clash with hosts Poland

Slovakia could cause an upset against Swedes

England have Jordan Pickford to thank for still being in contention
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European Under-21 Championship Group A
Sky Sports 1 & 2, 7.45pm Thursday

England have been far from convincing in their opening two matches at the European Under-21 Championship and look poor value odds-on favourites to defeat host nation Poland in Kielce in their final Group A match.

Aidy Boothroyd's Young Lions are top of the section and know a victory over the Poles would take them into the semi-finals.

But neither of their performances have been good enough to suggest they are capable of matching the very best teams in the tournament.

England laboured to a 0-0 draw in their opener against Sweden - escaping with a point thanks to a penalty save from Jordan Pickford.

And they didn't play much better in Monday's 2-1 victory over Slovakia.

The biggest positive to come out of the Slovakia success was the character England showed in coming back from a 1-0 half-time deficit.

But there wasn't any great fluency to England's play and they had to withstand some intense late pressure from the Slovaks to hold on to the points.

England are battling away and getting the breaks (they escaped from a strong penalty appeal when makeshift right back Jacob Murphy handled against the Slovaks).

Boothroyd showed tactical flexibility by switching to a midfield diamond for the second half against Slovakia and it worked well for 20 minutes with England getting on the ball more and scoring two goals.

But there was a lack of composure when England hit the front and they had to rely on some stoical defending from centre-backs Alfie Mawson and Calum Chambers to get over the line.

Having a solid defence can be a great asset in tournament football but England need to do better in possession to take some of the pressure off.

They arrived at the tournament as the third-highest ranked team on Uefa coefficients but have not played to anywhere near that standard.

Poland will push forward in search of the win they need to have a chance of winning the group and probably feel they have nothing to lose.

They were heading out of the competition until Dawid Kownacki's late penalty rescued a 2-2 draw against Sweden, getting them the point their performance warranted.

The Poles played better than in their 2-1 loss to Slovakia and benefited from the return of Kownacki, who had been suspended for the first game.

They seem to be growing into the tournament and are worth backing at odds-against to take at least a point from their final group game.

England could qualify with a draw if the points are also shared in Sweden's clash with Slovakia in Lublin.

After two draws, Sweden must hope for a victory and for England to fail against the Poles.

Slovakia - a point better off than Sweden - are in a similar position and will have taken heart from their performance for large parts of the match against England.

The Slovaks were deserved 2-1 winners against Poland in their opening match and look value outsiders to defeat the Swedes.

Poland or draw double chance
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Team news
Aidy Boothroyd went on the offensive in the second half against Slovakia - replacing right back Mason Holgate with right winger Jacob Murphy. He must decide whether to stick with the more attacking line up or revert to plan A with Holgate staying in the side.

Striker Dawid Kownacki returned from suspension to feature against Sweden and scored an injury-time equaliser from the penalty spot. He should keep his place with head coach Marcin Dorna expected to keep changes to a minimum.

Team news
No fresh injury problems are reported.

Changes are expected as head coach Hakan Ericson tries to come up with a winning formula. Pa Konate (thigh) missed out on the original squad.

Key stats
Poland have scored in each of their last eight matches.

Slovakia have won seven of their last nine competitive games.

Poland will push forward in search of the win they need to have a chance of winning the group
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