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Henderson disappointed as England U21s beaten in Euro opener by Italy

The England U21 side has kicked off the UEFA U21 European Championships with a 1-0 loss to Italy in Tel Aviv.

Lorenzo Insigne scored the only goal of the contest with a free-kick in the 79th minute as Stuart Pearce's men dropped their opening Group A fixture.

Young Lions captain Jordan Henderson admitted it was a disappointing way to kick off the Israel tournament especially after Craig Dawson's opening goal was disallowed for an apparent foul caused by Steven Caulker.

"It was a disappointing game in the end and I thought we could have played a lot better," he told Sky Sports.

"First twenty minutes we tried to press them but it wasn't really working and it might have been a different game if our goal was allowed."

He added: "I don't understand why it wasn't given at all, none of the players really understood what was going on and I can't explain it really. It was very confusing.

"I thought the referee was pointing at the kick-off spot so everyone was celebrating. It was a good few minutes until they took a free-kick and everyone was a little bit baffled to be honest, but that's football.

"We've got another two games to go so we need to be ready for that. We can't get too disheartened, we've got to pick ourselves up and fight back come the next match (against Norway on Saturday).

"There are two games left and we want to win both of them to get out of the group. It doesn't really matter how you do it. We'll be ready come the next game."

In the other Group A clash, hosts Israel were held 2-2 by Norway who were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half-time.

Nir Biton opened the scoring for the Israelis from the penalty spot in the 16th minute before Marcus Pedersen levelled for Norway in the 24th minute. Alon Turgeman again edged the home side ahead with a 71st minute goal but Harmeet Singh equalised in injury-time after teammate Vegar Hedenstad saw red in the first half.

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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