Rice suffers Euro U19 heartache

Declan Rice


  • Declan Rice and Republic of Ireland miss out on UEFA European U19 Championship finals qualification
  • Boys in Green edged out on goal difference by Sweden, despite winning two of three matches
  • Martin Samuelsen also in action for Norway U21s on Tuesday

West Ham United’s Declan Rice missed out on a place at the UEFA European U19 Championship finals by the narrowest of margins on Tuesday evening.

Rice’s Republic of Ireland defeated Belgium 1-0 to finish the Elite Round of qualifying on six points from three matches, only to be edged out by group winners Sweden on goal difference.

With the Hammers defender and recently-crowned FA U17 International Player of the Year starting all three ties at centre-half, Ireland defeated Italy 2-0 before suffering an ultimately vital 3-0 defeat by the Swedes on Saturday.

That left the Boys in Green needing to defeat Belgium and hoping Sweden would fail to beat Italy in the final round of group matches. However, the Scandinavians scored a second-half winner to replicate Ireland’s scoreline and go through to the finals on goal difference.

Rice tweeted his disappointment at missing out on a place in Georgia, but was proud of his side’s performances in going so close to reaching a first UEFA European U19 Championship finals tournament since 2011.

“The boys were immense in beating Belgium 1-0! Gutted not to qualify for the European Championships but we go again. Proud of everyone,” tweeted the promising Hammers Premier League 2 captain.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Martin Samuelsen started for Norway U21 in a friendly international with Russia in Marbella, Spain. The winger created Norway’s best chance, but the Russians ran out 2-0 winners.

The boys were immense in beating Belgium 1-0! Gutted not to qualify for the European Championships but we go again. Proud of everyone

Declan Rice

Darren Randolph and Jose Fonte were both handed watching briefs as Republic of Ireland and Portugal were defeated in home international friendly matches by Iceland and Sweden respectively. Defender Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, who spent three years with West Ham between 2008-11 and is now with Israeli side Maccabi Haifa, appeared in Iceland’s 1-0 win in Dublin.

On Monday evening, Cheikhou Kouyate was also an unused substitute as Senegal played out an eventful 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast in Paris. The friendly international was abandoned with two minutes remaining after a pitch invasion.

Everton loanee Enner Valencia started for Ecuador, but El Tri were beaten 2-0 by Colombia to leave them sixth in the South American FIFA World Cup qualifying table.