Nathan Redmond scored the only goal as England Under-21s edged out Wales 1-0 in Wednesday's 2015 European Championship qualifier at Derby's iPro Stadium.
Norwich winger Redmond struck in the 56th minute, cutting in from the left flank and shooting low into the near corner of the net from outside the box.
Northern Ireland Under-21s were beaten 2-0 by heavily-fancied Italy in their penultimate qualifier at Mourneview Park.
Jim Magilton, continuing in charge of the side after taking over from Stephen Robinson for the first time in November's double header against the Azzurri and Cyprus, saw his side contain their higher-ranked opponents until Daniele Rugani's 59th minute header.
Marcelo Trotta, on loan at Brentford from Fulham, sealed it in the final minute.
Striker Stefan Mugosa ended the Republic of Ireland's hopes of reaching the finals as Montenegro secured a 2-1 win.
The visitors struck twice inside two minutes at Tallaght Stadium as the game entered its final throes to leave Noel King's men empty-handed and with no chance of snatching a play-off place.
Wolves defender Matt Doherty's header had given Ireland an 11th-minute lead as the home side got off to the perfect start in a game they really had to win.
But FC Twente forward Luka Djordjevic levelled with 15 minutes remaining and Mugosa, who plays his club football in Montenegro with Mladost Podgorica, won it three minutes later to leave the visitors in pole position behind Group 6 leaders Germany.