Stuart Pearce's Under-21s will kick off Euro 2013 Finals against Italy in Tel Aviv
England Under-21s will begin their UEFA European Championship
Finals drive against Italy in Tel Aviv.
The draw for Israel 2013 last month
saw Stuart Pearce
’s side grouped with the Italians, Norway and the hosts in the eight-team tournament.
Now the fixtures schedule has been confirmed and the Azzurrini will be the first Group A test for the Young Lions at Bloomfield Stadium on Wednesday 5 June.
England have faced Italy three times since Pearce took the reigns as Under-21s boss, drawing in the first game at the new Wembley Stadium as well as at the Finals of Euro 2007 in Holland.
However, most recently in a friendly away in Empoli in February 2011, a late Federico Macheda penalty
consigned the Three Lions to a 1-0 defeat.
Three days after the opener with Italy, England will face their qualifying group opponents Norway at the Ha Moshava Stadium in Petach Tikva.
Pearce has a decent record against Norway of late. Having won both meetings earlier this campaign that saw his team top the group, in the other two head-to-heads with the Norwegians, both friendlies, England have won 5-0 and 2-0.
The Three Lions will be hoping they can secure their place in the last four when they line up against Israel at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium on Tuesday 11 June, their third and final Group A fixture.
Though England have played Israel only twice at Under-21s level, the two nations last came together at Barnsley for a friendly encounter
in September 2011.
The visitors took a 1-0 lead into the break, but a much-improved second-half performance from Pearce’s men saw them run out 4-1 winners.
In Group B, the last three champions of this competition, Spain, Germany and Holland, are joined by Russia. The top two in each section go into the Semi-Finals. The Final will be played on Tuesday 18 June at Teddy Stadium.
5 June – England v Italy, KO 9.30pm (7.30pm BST) at Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv
8 June – England v Norway, KO 7pm (5pm BST) at Ha Moshava Stadium, Petach Tikva
11 June – Israel v England, KO 7pm (5pm BST) at Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem
Click here for the full list of Group A fixtures