England U21s avoid big guns

England have been paired with Israel, Norway and Italy for next summer's UEFA Under-21 Championship finals.

Last Updated: 28/11/12 at 18:28 Post Comment

Pearce: His side will gace Israel, Norway and Italy next summer

Pearce: His side will gace Israel, Norway and Italy next summer

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

England have escaped a nightmare draw for next summer's UEFA Under-21 Championship finals after they were paired with Israel, Norway and Italy.

The Young Lions almost landed the kindest possible opposition in Group A as they swerved defending champions Spain, Germany and Russia.

Holland completed Group B, with England automatically avoiding them as both sides were second seeds.

Spain helped knock Stuart Pearce's men out of the last tournament in 2011, where they failed to progress from the group stage.

Germany, meanwhile, thrashed England in the 2009 final, while Holland beat them in an epic semi-final penalty shootout two years earlier.

England's draw saw them renew their rivalry with Norway, whom they beat to top spot in qualifying Group Eight.

Israel qualified automatically as hosts, while Italy finished top of Group Seven before beating Sweden in the play-offs.

England are expected to open their finals campaign against the hosts, before meeting Italy and then Norway.

Pearce said: "I thought the draw would only serve to underline what we already knew - that we will have to be at it from the off to beat the very best young teams in Europe if we are to succeed in this tournament.

"We are in with the hosts and they'll be backed by some great home support.

"Norway we know all about and there was very little between us in qualifying.

"Italy are technically very difficult to break down and we have experience of them in the past.

"On paper, it might look easy, but it never works that way. We are excited by it.

"We shouldn't forget that, as much as we're looking around at other teams and talking about their qualities, they'll be looking at us and probably talking in the same terms about our qualities.

"After all, we are a team that has just gone through a calendar year unbeaten and without conceding a goal - few can boast a record as solid as that. That is credit to the players.

"This will be our fourth tournament, and we'll bring great experience with us in the summer, especially within my staff.

"That doesn't guarantee success, of course, and we'll need a strong squad, who are fit and in form. We are coming to Israel to win it.

"During my time, we have lost a semi-final on penalties, lost a final and gone out in the group stages, so we have experienced most everything in this competition, except winning it.

"That was our target at the start of the qualification campaign and we are aware of what's in front of us, but we want to win it.

"For a lot of the young players lucky enough to experience these finals, it will prove to be an invaluable time in Israel, not least with a World Cup on the horizon in Brazil.

"We have had a good period here in Israel and have a good idea of hotels and training bases now. This will be confirmed as soon as UEFA decide on the match schedule."

Matches will take place in Tel Aviv, Petah Tivka, Netanya and Jerusalem, with the finals will witness England's first competitive game since their own acrimonious play-off win over Serbia.

Both sides still face punishment from UEFA over the ugly scenes that marred the second leg, during which some of England's black players allegedly suffered racist abuse.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Footer 365

Fernando Torres: AC Milan open talks with Chelsea over possible transfer

AC Milan have held talks with Chelsea over the transfer of Fernando Torres, according to Sky sources.

Transfer news: Bayern Munich sign defender Mehdi Benatia from Roma

Mehdi Benatia has completed his move to Bayern Munich by signing a five-year contract after a successful medical.

Indian Super League: Ex-Juventus star David Trezeguet eyes Alessandro Del Piero reunion

David Trezeguet welcomes the impending arrival of ex Juventus team-mate Alessandro Del Piero in the Indian Super League

Mail Box

Should Kagawa Play Ahead Of Mata?

That's one question posed in the afternoon mailbox, although it looks like the Japanese playmaker could soon be on his way. Plus, tipping Palace to go down under Warnock...

Well, This Isn't Going That Well Is It?

Plenty of fall out from Manchester United's shambolic 4-0 League Cup defeat, plus thoughts on Van Persie, Arsenal strikers, Benik Afobe, Celtic and Astroturf...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property