Euro U21s: England into the final, but Campbell sees red
Posted by nickogs20 on June 26, 2009
England have (eventually) overcome Sweden to reach the final of the 2009 UEFA Under-21 European Championship, but Fraizer Campbell will play no part in Monday’s clash with Germany after being sent off for two bookable offences.
After impressing as an impact substitute in the Young Lions’ first two games, Campbell was again pressed into the action from the bench in Gothenburg, replacing Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor after an hour. Unfortunately for the 21 year-old, his arrival on the pitch coincided with Sweden launching their astonishing comeback from 3-0 down, and after being left isolated upfront and forced to look on helplessly as two goals from tournament top scorer Marcus Berg and another from Ola Toivonen brought the hosts level, frustration saw the United striker pick up a yellow card with five minutes left in normal time for carelessly charging into opposing keeper Johan Dahlin.
Worse was to follow in extra-time as, already on a final warning after another foul just minutes earlier, Campbell launched himself into a reckless challenge on defender Mikael Lustig and left referee Cuneyt Cakir with little option but to issue another caution. The Huddersfield-born forward, who looks set to leave Old Trafford this summer, didn’t even hang around to see the official subsequently produce the red card, and disappeared off down the tunnel furiously remonstrating, presumably with himself given that he really gave the referee no choice but to dismiss him.
Campbell’s team-mates, having earlier raced into an unassailable lead thanks to goals from Martin Cranie (after just 53 seconds), Nedum Onuoha and the unfortunate Swedish skipper Mattias Bjarsmyr, clung on in extra-time and took the tie to penalties. A semi-final shootout isn’t usually reason to be confident where England teams are concerned, especially for manager Stuart Pearce, but pre-game the squad and coaching staff had expressed a confidence in their ability to perform from the spot and they duly delivered, even recovering from the early blow of James Milner slicing the first penalty horrendously high and wide.
Manchester City’s Joe Hart immediately saved from Berg to maintain parity, and after an exchange of top quality spot-kicks, substitute Guillermo Molins was to be the fall guy for Sweden, his attempt cannoning off the post to send a euphoric England into the final. As stated, Germany are the opposition after they edged out favourites Italy in the other semi, and Pearce will be forced to shuffle his pack for the biggest match of his managerial career after Agbonlahor and Hart joined Campbell in picking up cards that see them suspended.