Pearce expects a tight encounter
Tuesday, 17 November, 2009
The U21s Coach says England will face a tough test in Lithuania tonight
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Stuart Pearce expects a tight game when his England Under-21s team face Lithuania in Vilnius tonight.
After victory over Portugal at Wembley on Saturday, Pearce hopes that his team can see out 2009 with another three points in their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign, but knows that his players will be in for a tough test at a chilly Vetra Stadium.
"They are very defence-minded and thay will play a lot from back-to-front,” he told TheFA.com. “I've watched every game Lithuania have played and they don't concede many goals so it's going to be a very difficult, tight game.
"Everyone offers something different; Portugal had a lot of the ball and we might have a lot of the ball tonight. We will have to make sure we move the ball quickly and break them down as best we can."
And with Portugal going up against Greece later in the evening, a home win for the Portuguese would be a massive bonus for the Three Lions who would move level at the top of the Group Nine table if they collect three points in Vilnius, and they’d have a game in hand.
But a Greece win would certainly spell the end of Portugal’s hopes with them currently sitting six points behind England.
“Even if we get maximum points from this get-together, we could still be three points behind Greece if they manage to win in Portugal tonight, so the group is finely balanced,” added Pearce.
“It’ll be an interesting evening and we’ll know so much more by the end of the night”.
England kick off against Lithuania at 4pm (GMT), you can follow the updates from the game here on TheFA.com