Pearce looks at England's strengths
by Jamie Bradbury in Denmark
Saturday, 11 June, 2011
Stuart Pearce is expecting a tough group ahead of opening game with Spain.
On the eve of England's opening game of the 2011 UEFA Under-21 Championship, Coach Stuart Pearce says that he's concentrating on his team's own strengths as they prepare to face Spain.
The Three Lions are currently ranked as Europe's number one team at Under-21s level and will be the only side in Denmark to have featured in the last three tournaments, reaching the Final in 2009 and the semi-finals two years earlier.
Meanwhile, their opponents in Herning on Sunday evening have been lauded as favourites for this summer's Championship after the success of their senior counterparts as well as their own successful qualification campaign.
However, Pearce believes that Group B is wide open with four nations all capable of making it to the Final on 25 June.
"You have to understand the strengths that you have within your squad and within your team, and that's what we've continually tried to do over a number of years," said Pearce.
"That's why, at this moment, we're ranked number one in Europe, because the players are comfortable in the team shape, and they also see a benefit for themselves, both in their performance and pushing on to the senior England side.
"Every game we approach, with this group of players, we feel as though we can win.
"We set out to win the match - that's what we do. We'll go with the set-up that we think will win the game, and the personnel that I think will win the game."
He continued: "The Spanish are decent but they didn't win their group, we've come here as number-one seeds in Europe over a three-year period - we didn't win our group.
"The Czechs walked their group against the holders, and also the Icelandics were in their group. That's a mark of how good the Czechs are.
"The Ukrainians are unbeaten in qualifying, so it's a really tough group. On top of that, whoever gets out of this group, they know full well that there are two nations waiting for them in the semi and Final that are going to be really tough as well."
Pearce added: "I can't wait for the tournament to start. There's some real talent here, the best talent in Europe, so it'll be a really exciting tournament."
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