Learning lessons from the past
Tuesday, 23 June, 2009
Stuart Pearce says England are better equipped to win Euros than in 2007.
England Under-21 Head Coach Stuart Pearce reckons his side are better placed to win the European Championship than they were two years ago.
In 2007, Pearce's Young Lions lost out in heartbreaking fashion - beaten 13-12 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out by eventual winners Holland. Fast forward two years, and Pearce has once again guided his team into the last four of the competition.
But this time the former England left-back is convinced his team are better equipped for victory despite his 2007 side featuring the likes of Scott Carson, Ashley Young, Kieron Richardson and David Nugent.
"I believe I am definitely [better], and I believe the squad are as well," said Pearce.
"I believe the squad is tighter than it was two years ago, and the important thing is that the players feel that as well going into this tournament.
"From our knowledge as a staff I think we've got more knowledge going into this.
"We knew what was expected, and that sort of knowledge reflected itself going into the game against Finland, and not accepting a point at half time and chasing the game to win it because we thought that was important."
After securing the point necessary to top the group against Germany, Pearce was naturally delighted to progress through and to remain in Gothenburg for the semi-final on Friday evening.
He added: "I was more than pleased with the majority of what we did yesterday.
"We needed to get at least a point to win the group and that was our objection to stay at the training camp we've had, and to play another game at Gothenburg."
"That went according to plan, and obviously apart from Theo [Walcott's] knee we've come out of it with only one booking and one slight injury."
Ahead of a light training session, Pearce also expressed delight at the performances of his team and believes they are peaking just at the right time.
England will know their semi-finals opponents after the final round of games in Group A on Tuesday night. All four nations are still in with a chance of progressing, although the likelihood is that England will face the winner of the match between hosts Sweden and 2007 runners-up Serbia.