Lions pass Spanish test
Thursday, 31 March, 2011
England beat Spain to seal spot in Euro Finals.
by Glenn Lavery
Holders England beat Spain 2-1 to reach the Finals of the UEFA European U17 Championship.
With both nations on six points after their first two group games, Spain came into the final Elite Round Qualifier needing just a point to seal their place in the Serbia in May - thanks to their superior goal difference - but second-half goals from Nathan Redmond and Adam Jackson put paid to Spanish hopes of progression. Pablo Iñiguez did score an added time consolation for Ginés Meléndez's men, but it was too little, too late.
With Group 5 supremacy, and the solitary Finals place that goes with it, up for grabs the first half was understandably tight and it wasn’t until the 55th minute that England took the lead. Raheem Sterling picked up Hallam Hope’s ball and crossed for Redmond to curl home.
Jackson gave England some breathing space with a second goal just seven minutes later, after Alfonso Herrero had spilled Hope’s shot.
Iñiguez did pull a goal back late on but thankfully for England, Spain had no time to complete a comeback.
John Peacock’s young England side - whose predecessors won the European Championship in Liechtenstein last season, beating Spain 2-1 in the Final - will now join seven other countries, split over two groups of four, in the Finals in Serbia. The top three nations in each group will subsequently qualify for the FIFA U17 World Cup which is being held in Mexico later this year.
For now though at least, England can look forward to dining at Europe’s top table once more.