Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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England's U21s just getting into the swing of things

By Simon Peach

Ben Gibson has credited a round of crazy golf for England Under-21s' vital, late European Championship win against Sweden in the Czech Republic on Sunday.

As the clock wound down at the Ander Stadium, it looked like the Young Lions were going to be pushed closer to a third straight group-stage exit.

However, a moment of magic from Jesse Lingard five minutes from time saw Gareth Southgate's men eke out a 1-0 win - a huge relief following the bruising defeat to Portugal.

Injuries to Saido Berahino and John Stones clearly impacted the Young Lions ahead of the Group B opener, but Middlesbrough defender Gibson says a round of crazy golf the day after the loss to Portugal brought back the feel-good factor.

"There's a crazy golf course just around the corner (from the team hotel)," he said.

"I think that was important to us winning the other night after the game against Portugal.

"The camp was a bit down and when you're in a tournament, with the games coming as thick and fast as they do here, it is important you move on quickly.

"We arranged a mini golf tournament for the lads, so it got everyone in good spirits again."

Gibson is hopeful of continuing the run against Italy tonight (7.45pm), with three points ensuring progress to the semi-finals.

"We're up and away now and that's the important thing," he continued. "It wasn't how we won, it was getting a win behind us and now we're hoping to build on that against Italy."

Belfast Telegraph

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