Stuart Pearce was delighted with the maturity shown by his young players to win at Wembley.
UEFA European U21 Championship Group 3 Qualifier
7.45pm, Friday 5 September 2008
match programme online
England Under-21 Head Coach Stuart Pearce praised the maturity of his Young Lions as they eased to a 2-0 win over Portugal at Wembley on Friday evening to seal their place at the top of Group 3 and a play-off berth to look forward to in October.
Goals from Aston Villa duo James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor handed ensured another victory for Pearce, whose side extended their proud unbeaten record amid atrocious conditions at a rain sodden national stadium.
Pearce was particularly impressed at the way his Wembley novices were not overawed by the occasion as they comprehensively outplayed their technically gifted opponents.
"I'm particularly pleased because what we carried out on the pitch what we had worked on all week in training," he explained.
"We were outstanding and looked a threat every time we got Gabby in behind. There were so many bright points."
Pearce spoke in the build-up to the game how he wanted his team to feel comfortable running out and performing at Wembley and that was exactly what he got.
And given the team spirit in place within his squad, he wasn't wholly surprised by the players' reaction.
"The camaraderie is commendable," he added.
"It's not easy to play here and they acquitted themselves well. They weren't daunted and playing here will stand them in good stead for the future.
"The mentality they showed in playing for their country was outstanding.
We've won the group now and although we will have a tough play-off coming up, I'm pleased with what we've done tonight."
1 Joe Hart, 2 Martin Cranie, 3 Andrew Taylor, 4 Fabrice Muamba (15 Lee Cattermole, 56), 5 Steven Taylor (c), 6 Michael Mancienne, 7 James Milner, 8 Tom Huddlestone, 9 Gabriel Agbonlahor (18 Fraizer Campbell, 76), 10 Mark Noble, 11 Adam Johnson (16 Michael Kightly, 86)
Substitutes 13 Tom Heaton, 12 Jamie O'Hara, 14 Richard Stearman, 17 Aaron Lennon
Coach Stuart Pearce
12 Rui Patrício, 3 Nuno André Coelho, 5 Gonçalo Brandão, 6 Paulo Machado (15 Stélvio Cruz), 7 Vieirinha (18 Daniel Candeias), 8 Manuel Fernandes (c), 10 Miguel Veloso, 13 Vasco Fernandes, 14 Bruno Pereirinha, 16 Bruno Gama (9 João Moreira, 46), 17 Ricardo Vaz Té
Substitutes 1 Ricardo Batista, 2 Hugo Lopes, 4 Daniel Carriço, 11 Helder Barbosa
Coach Rui Caçador
Referee Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
Assistant Referees Paolo Calcagno (ITA) and Stefano Papi (ITA)
Fourth official Nicola Stefanini (ITA)
England White shirts, Blue shorts, White socks
Portugal Red shirts, Red shorts, Red socks