Roy Hodgson and his players may have disgraced themselves with a feeble showing in France but young Newcastle star Freddie Woodman and his team-mates are proving to be made of sterner stuff.
England kicked off their campaign at the Under 19s European Championships in Germany on Tuesday.
Freddie Woodman and Adam Armstrong helped England to the Under 17 Euros title two years ago and now the Newcastle keeper is hoping to follow up, though Armstrong has had to miss out due to injury.
The top two will meet on Friday with the Young Lions knowing that victory would all-but secure progress to the semi-finals and, with it, a place at next year’s Under-20 World Cup.
A tough opening match against France saw a stunning opening nine minutes, as England went two up through a forced own goal and another strike from Chelsea’s Dominic Solanke.
Gradually though the French clawed their way back into the game and after Freddie Woodman saved the day on several occasions, he could do nothing about Augustin’s goal on 33 minutes.
That set the scene for the final hour of the match, as France went all out to save the game as England battled to protect the lead.
Chances were rare for England but at the other end, the young Newcastle keeper retained the England lead with a series of superb stops.
The final whistle was greeted with relief and a job well done by the young Three Lions.
Holland beat Croatia in the other Group B match and Freddie Woodman & his team-mates will meet the Dutch on Friday, a win would all but guarantee them a place in the semi-finals, something which would also give them qualification for the Under 20 World Cup in 2017.
England U19 starting 11 v France:
Freddie Woodman (Newcastle United), Jonjoe Kenny (Everton), Taylor Moore (RC Lens – captain), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), Callum Connolly (Everton), Jordan Rossiter (Rangers), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal), Sheyi Ojo (Liverpool), Joshua Onomah (Tottenham Hotspur), Dominic Solanke (Chelsea), Isaiah Brown (Chelsea)
Before the tournament Freddie Woodman said:
“We’ve got to go there with the mentality that we can win it. A lot of people will see our team and be frightened of us.
“We do turn up for the big games and we’ve got a lot of players who have played in the league in every position.
“I think the most important thing is we’re the closest bunch of lads I’ve ever been involved with as a team. I don’t think you’ll find a better team out there, everything’s done right.
“Training’s good, we prepare right and as soon as we get to the game, we’re in game mode and switched on to get the job done.”
“We’ve got to go there and say we can win it. People are going to fear us. We’ve got to stay a little bit humble, but also go there with the presence; this is our title, and we’ve got to regain it.
“This time, coming into this tournament, we’re favourites, and I don’t think last time we were favourites – we just went out, played and hoped for the best, and somehow we won it.
“But it’ll be interesting to see what happens. I can’t wait to get out there and get back playing football matches.”