Goals tell for England

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND UNDER-18 are in a strong position to edge out the host nation, Spain, in their campaign to qualify from their European Championship group.

England defeated Andorra 8-0 in their latest match in Rota on Wednesday, while Spain could only overcome Israel 2-0. That leaves England and Spain level on points at the top of the table after they had shared a 1-1 draw on Monday.

However, England have a far superior goal difference and that will be the deciding factor if the teams are still locked together after today's final round of matches. England, who will play Israel, have a goal difference of +8, while Spain, who finish their programme against Andorra, have a difference of +2. It means, for example, that if England beat Israel 3-0, then Spain will have to win by 10 clear goals to stop England progressing into the intermediate round against Norway next month.

England, coached by David Platt and Nigel Spackman, scored four times in each half against Andorra, who fielded a young and inexperienced side. Goals from Scott Parker, Luke Chadwick, Darius Vassell and a Jamie Milligan penalty put England 4-0 up at half-time.

After the interval, further goals followed from Ledley King, Joe Cole, his first at Under-18 level, Matthew Etherington, plus another penalty from Milligan.

Fifa, the world governing body, has approved emergency medical plans, including evacuation, when Nigeria host the World Under-20 Championships next month. There have been increasing fears over the standard of the medical conditions that exist in the West African state.

Jack Warner, the Fifa vice-president, insisted that the problems have been overstated. "I've been to Nigeria seven times altogether and I have examined every detail. There is absolutely no cause for concern," he said.