by Lewis Ambrose
England u21s got off to a bad start at the European Championships in Czech Republic on Thursday evening as they lost their opening group B game 1-0 to Portugal.
Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson played the full 90 minutes for England, who will need to improve quickly to take enough out of games against Sweden and Italy in order to qualify.
Jenkinson is England’s first choice right-back and didn’t have a great deal to do in a cagey affair, but nearly equalised from a stoppage time corner only to see his header saved.
England struggled to create any good chances, with Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur forcing Portuguese goalkeeper Jose Sa into the best save of the first half.
His English counterpart Jack Butland had a few good saves to make to keep the score level but was eventually beaten when Joao Mario tucked home a rebound.
Jenkinson found substitue Danny Ings on the edge of the box as the end of the game neared but the new Liverpool man fired just wide.
Fellow substitute Alex Pritchard of Tottenham added some impetus to the England side but it was too little too late and Portugal managed to hold on for a 1-0 victory which puts them into a good position after one game.
Despite the absence of John Stones, Calum Chambers could only make the bench.
He will hope to start England’s next game is against Sweden at 17:00 BST on Sunday.
The game has become a must win against a side who beat Italy 2-1 in their opening game.