England have only won four of their last 18 group games in the U21 finals
England’s chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the European Under-21 Championship hang on a thread after a slack performance and a loss to Portugal.
England, who lost to Switzerland in the opening game, were the second best country and had no shot on goal.
Dany Mota’s low, angled shot and Francisco Trincao’s penalty decided the game in Ljubljana in the second half.
England must now beat Croatia and hope Portugal beat Switzerland to get out of Group D.
Even if England and Portugal win, there would be a three-way battle between England, Croatia and Switzerland for a place, which is likely to be offset by the goal difference. Croatia beat Switzerland 3-2 on Sunday.
The red flags were already there for England in the third minute on Sunday when Ben Godfrey was forced to stave off a Mota attempt from his own goal line.
England ignored them or, more precisely, was largely powerless to do anything about it against a far superior opponent.
Everton’s defender Godfrey later had to do a similar salvage job in the last ditch later in the first half, again denying Mota a push tackle on the near post as Aidy Boothroyd’s side battled to maintain parity before the break.
With Fabio Vieira and Vitinha both just shot out of range while traffic continued to flow in one direction, it was only a matter of time before the impasse was broken.
Mota was the one to do it, and Pedro Goncalves collected a neat pass in the box before shooting his shot straight into the far post.
Trincao broke the game outside of England after Marc Guehi was stuck in a shoe and caught substitute Goncalo Ramos in the box.
Qualification will also go beyond that unless they show a significantly improved performance against Croatia on Wednesday.
2Correia4thQueirós3Monteiro Pinto Leite5Dalot
18thPereira Gonçalves11Mota Carvalho
- 1Meireles Costa
- 2CorreiaBooked at 52 minutes
- 3Monteiro Pinto Leite
- 6thMorris LuisReplaced bySantos Bragançaat the 45 ‘protocol
- 23VieiraReplaced byConceptionat the 63 ‘protocol
- 8thCarvalho FernandesReplaced byMachado Trincãoat the 45 ‘protocol
- 18thPereira GonçalvesReplaced byBarros Soaresat the 88 ‘protocol
- 11Mota CarvalhoReplaced byMatias Ramosat the 73 ‘protocolBooked at 90 minutes
- 9Matias Ramos
- 10Santos Bragança
- 12thArantes Maximiano
- 13thFranco Tavares
- 14thLopes Pereira
- 15thEmbaló Djaló
- 16Barros Soares
- 17thMachado Trincão
- 19thby Melo Tomás
- 20thNeto Lopes
- 22ndNeves Virginia
- 4thGodfreyBooked at 67 minutes
- 14thS SessegnonReplaced byBrewsterat the 83 ‘protocol
- 6thDaviesReplaced byJonesat the 72 ‘protocol
- 18thSmith RoweReplaced byEzeat the 45 ‘protocol
- 23MaduekeReplaced byGallagherat the 72 ‘protocol
- 11R SessegnonReplaced byMcNeilat the 55 ‘protocol
Referee: François Letexier
End of game, Portugal U21 2, England U21 0.
The second half ends, Portugal U21 2, England U21 0.
Foul by Filipe Soares (Portugal U21).
Curtis Jones (England U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Daniel Bragança (Portugal U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rhian Brewster (England U21).
Gonçalo Ramos (Portugal U21) is shown the yellow card.
Gonçalo Ramos (Portugal U21) fell but the referee thinks it’s a simulation.
Missed attempt. Gonçalo Ramos (Portugal U21) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Prepared by Trincao.
Diogo Costa (Portugal U21) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marc Guehi (England U21).
Corner, England U21. The corner was scored by Gonçalo Ramos.
Substitution, Portugal U21. Filipe Soares replaces Pedro Gonçalves.
Foul by Trincão (Portugal U21).
Marc Guehi (England U21) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner Portugal U21. The corner was caused by Ben Godfrey.
Attempt blocked. Pedro Gonçalves (Portugal U21) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Prepared by Trincao.
Foul by Daniel Bragança (Portugal U21).
Oliver Skipp (England U21) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, England U21. Rhian Brewster replaces Steven Sessegnon.