England sent crashing out
England were sent crashing out of the European Under-21 Championships as two late goals earned Czech Republic a 2-1 win and a date with Switzerland in the semi-finals.
Stuart Pearce's side looked set to secure a place in the last-four themselves when Danny Welbeck put England in front in the 76th minute. But Jan Chramosta's 89th minute stab home essentially crushed England's hopes.
England then pushed up looking for the win they needed, but it was the Czechs who claimed the three points on the break with the last kick of the game as Chramosta broke through and squared to Tomas Pekhart to put the final nail in the coffin.
Only Jordan Henderson kept his place in an England midfield which had disappointed throughout the tournament, with captain Michael Macienne dropped and Phil Jones taking over the armband. But there still lacked invention in the side which was too functional.
England needed a brilliant save from Frankie Fielding to avoid falling behind in the 17th minute, the goalkeeper tipping over Lukas Marecek's dipping half-volley from Kozak's knockdown.
When England got the ball working they put together their best move of the tournament, Tom Cleverley volleying Ryan Bertrand's cross into the sidenetting.
With just over a quarter of the game remaining, Pearce had seen enough, replacing the anonymous Henderson with Henri Lansbury.
England badly needed some inspiration and Daniel Sturridge tried to provide it when he chipped a 40-yard free-kick just over the bar. That was just a taster as the breakthrough finally arrived 14 minutes from time.
A brilliant inswinging cross from the right from Sturridge, with Welbeck bulleting a header past the flailing Tomas Vaclik. Lansbury almost settled the contest when he drilled a free-kick narrowly wide.
The crucial equaliser came when Marcel Gecov was allowed to carry the ball into the box and his cross took a deflection off Welbeck, allowing Chrasmosta to lift the ball over Fielding.
England might have had a stoppage-time penalty when Sturridge was brought down but the flag was already up for offside.
And their misery was complete with the final kick of the game when another substitute, Pekhart, converted Chramosta's cross with England short on numbers at the back in persuit of another goal.
Pearce bemoaned a momentary lapse of concentration as his side were dumped out.
"Once we got our noses in front, we knew it was going to be difficult,'' Pearce told Sky Sports 1. "We are disappointed as a group as we felt after taking the lead we should have held on to it.
"They didn't really cause us a problem all evening defensively but we switched off for a minute, it falls to their player, and it's 1-1. The second goal was neither here nor there.
"It was probably the best performance of the tournament. But perhaps us going home now was symptomatic of us not passing the ball well enough in the first two games. This is a culmination of a two-year period, not just a one-off. The players put their hearts and souls into it. And for one or two it's the end of the line at Under-21 level.''
"We will have a look at it when my emotions have settled down a little bit. I was told by members of the press corps a game ago our tournament was a failure even though we are the top seeds in Europe. We have to take it on the chin and we wish the Czechs well.''
Spain secured top spot in the group, and will now face Belarus, after a comfortable 3-0 win over Ukraine. Juan Mata scored twice, his second from the penalty spot, with Adrian bagging a goal in between. Denys Garmash saw red for a foul on Mata which resulted in the spot-kick.
A night to forget was complete for Ukraine, who finish bottom of the group, when Evgeni Konoplienka missed a 75th minute penalty after David De Gea brought down Roman Zozulya.