If 2006 was a good year for England Under-21s, 2007 was great - but it could so nearly have been perfect...
It's the countdown to the New Year, but before we say hello to 2008, we look back at some of The FA's highlights of 2007.
If 2006 was a good year for England Under-21s with no defeats in six outings, 2007 was great - but it could so nearly have been perfect...
Having secured qualification to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, the first half of the year was focused on preparing for Holland. Under the guidance of new Coach Stuart Pearce, England entertained Spain in a friendly in Derby in February, but they also entertained the 28,000-strong crowd.
2-0 down at half-time, the Three Lions fought back in the second period to clinch a thrilling 2-2 draw.
They found themselves behind after only 29 seconds in their next encounter - the first official game at the new Wembley Stadium against Italy. However, Giampaulo Pazzini's strike, which was the first of his hat-trick, was not enough for the Italians.
David Bentley, Wayne Routledge and Matt Derbyshire all scored for England as the two Euro 2007 rivals drew 3-3.
But it was an easier night in their final game before they headed to Holland. A 5-0 victory over Slovakia at Norwich provided a huge confidence boost and maintained their long unbeaten run.
First up in their Championship challenge was the Czech Republic, but on a warm June evening in Arnhem, neither side could find the break through. Leroy Lita even missed a late penalty, and the spoils were shared.
Three nights later, it was the same venue, the Gelredome, but this time the roof was on as England met Italy once more.
The first half hour couldn't have been better for England as David Nugent and Lita put them 2-0 in front. But Italy were given a lifeline with Giorgio Chiellini's effort on 35 minutes and in very stuffy conditions, they kept going to secure a draw with another strike from distance from Alberto Aquilani 21 minutes from time.
Pearce's men needed victory over Serbia in their final game to reach the Semi-Final, but with the Serbian's having already qualified it wasn't to be easy.
Lita's goal after just five minutes settled England's nerves and when Derbyshire added a second near the end, a last-four berth was confirmed.
And so to Heerenveen it was, where the tournament hosts Holland, featuring a number of star names including Ryan Babel and Royston Drenthe, who would later sign for Liverpool and Real Madrid respectively, were waiting.
But again, Lita upset the odds and the massive home support, to fire England in front just before half-time. Holland kept searching for an equaliser, but the Three Lions held strong until an injury to Steven Taylor in the closing moments of the second half allowed the Dutch to capitalise on the space.
Maceo Rigters, who joined Blackburn Rovers after the tournament, scored with an acrobatic effort to send the match into extra time. The Dutch were on top, but Pearce's men held strong with a performance of real grit, determination and character, to see it through to penalties.
Having practised and practised from twelve yards in training - Coach Pearce had of course suffered World Cup penalty misery himself in 1990 - England felt their time was here.
However, despite scoring 12 penalties, they just couldn't shake off the Dutch, and when Anton Ferdinand struck the bar with the 31st spot kick of the shoot out, Gianni Zuiverloon tucked away the winner to send Holland through.
They went on to beat Serbia in the Final, while England headed home thinking about what might have been.
"I’ve told them [the players] it’s the proudest night of my career," said Pearce after the match. "I’m distraught for them. They put so much effort and emotion into this tournament.
"We felt as though we had done everything right. I can only be proud of the players, they were sensational."
But Pearce didn't dwell on defeat, their first since November 2005 (though statistically it will go down as a draw), as he set about his next task - qualification for the 2009 Finals with a new-look crop of players.
And with just two games left of their Group 3 campaign, England are well on course for Sweden thanks to wins over Montenegro (0-3 and 1-0), Bulgaria (0-2 and 2-0) and Ireland (0-3), as well as a draw away in Portugal.
Next up in February is Ireland at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium and a win will virtually secure a place in the play-offs.
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