Pearce weighs up Euro situation
Monday, 06 September, 2010
U21s Coach hoping victory over Lithuania will be enough to reach play-offs.
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The England Under-21s squad trained at Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium on Monday morning ahead of their meeting with Lithuania on Tuesday night.
Stuart Pearce’s men were once again in very high spirits, particularly following Friday night’s win in Portugal that has put them in contention for a place in the play-offs if they can beat their Group Nine rivals.
But it’s not a straight forward situation for the Young Lions who can only qualifying as one of the four best-placed runners up, after Greece clinched top spot with a 2-1 win over Macedonia on Saturday.
Pearce explained: "There are six groups out of the ten where the best runners-up will be decided and in three of those a points tally will be good enough.
"In the other three groups, and were are in one of them, it will be down to goal-difference. At the moment we have a better goal-difference than one side but a worse goal-differnce than the other.
"The starting point is to win the game and after that with the biggest margin possible. Then we are in the lap of the gods. It shows how difficult qualification for this tournament is.
"We could have a situation where we have won the game comfortably and still it's not good enough to send us into the play-offs. We knew we had to win two matches. We've won one and if we win the other and get to the play-offs then the ante will go up even more. But it's all part of international football.”
Pearce has a full squad of confident and bright players to pick from, and that was evident during another fast-paced training session at the Essex club’s new ground. The Weston Homes pitch was in fine condition, though the windy weather could play a part if it lingers around on Tuesday.
However, Pearce’s concerns lie with his team selection, with the whole squad knocking on the door for a place in the starting eleven.
“We have a squad of 19 fit players all vying for a place in the starting line-up. I will let them know what the team is tomorrow and there will be players who are not in the starting line-up who will be disappointed,” said Pearce.
“But one thing I can guarantee, and it has happened for three years now, they will support the players in the team and when their chance does come, they will take it.
“We have developed more of a club feel if you like, rather than an international feel, and all the players are looking forward to Tuesday night.”
Tickets for the match at Colchester United are available from via the Colchester United Ticket Office in person, on 0845 437 9089, via the club’s ticket website www.colutickets.com , or from the club’s town centre shop U’s Central on Sir Isaac’s Walk, Colchester.
A discount applies for groups of 15 or more, with prices reduced to £5 (adults) and £2.50 (concessions). For more information call 0845 437 9089, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org