An ecstatic John Peacock saluted his players after they qualified for the European Championships.
Serbia 1-2 England
UEFA European U17 Championship
Elite Qualifying Round
25 March 2008
An ecstatic John Peacock was bubbling after his young charges snatched qualification to the European Championships with just minutes remaining.
Knowing they needed to beat Serbia to book a place in May's showpiece event, England were on course when Tristan Plummer's cross was diverted into the net by a Serbian defender in the 44th minute.
But the Three Lions were dealt a crushing blow when Goran Smiljanovic equalised three minutes later.
With English hopes fading as the seconds ticked by, Manchester United youngster Danny Welbeck rose highest in the 79th minute to head home Nathan Porritt's corner and send England through to the European Championships.
"The players are all delighted," said Peacock. "There were so many emotions when the goal went in. We had to try and keep calm and defend well. But credit to the players. They kept their focus as they have all week. To win all three games, away from home - we have to be extremely pleased.
"We passed the ball really well in the first half. I told the players to do the same in the second half and the goal would come. It did, but we conceded a poor goal within minutes."
Peacock insisted that England were full value as group winners.
"We fully deserved it," he said. "The Serbs were very gracious in defeat, but it would have been a complete injustice had we not qualified. We were the best footballing side in the group. We won all three games, scoring eight and conceding just one. We did make it hard for ourselves at times though."
The draw for the European Championships, which will be held in Belgium, will take place next week. There, England will be placed in one of two groups of four with the winners and runners-up going through to the Semi-Finals.
"It's my understanding that the top-five teams will go through to the World Championships in Korea," said Peacock. "That has to be our objective. We have a decent set of players, but I don't want to look too far ahead until the draw is made."
Until then, Peacock said he might indulge in a celebratory beer.
"I have had one most nights, although I might push the boat out tonight and have two."
England: Amos - Manchester United, Ofori-Twumasi - Chelsea (74, Porritt - Middlesbrough), Mattock - Leicester City, Spence - West Ham United, Smith - Ipswich Town, Lansbury - Arsenal (64, Franks - Middlesbrough), Woods - Chelsea, Welbeck - Manchester United, Plummer - Bristol City (83, Taiwo - Chelsea), Murphy - Arsenal, Rose - Leeds United.
Serbia Goals: Smiljanovic 47
England Goals: og 43, Welbeck 79