England youngsters stunned by Vucko

Football: England Under-21 0 Croatia Under-21 1
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The Independent Online
England Under-21 0 Croatia Under-21 1

Dave Sexton's inexperienced England side were beaten by a Croat team whose slick and stylish performance at Roker Park last night suggested the full England side will have a match on their hands at Wembley tonight.

It could have been different if a fierce header from Charlton's Richard Rufus, the captain and one of eight newcomers in the side, had found the target in the first half instead of rattling the bar.

From a cross by Manchester United's Terry Cooke, Bruce Dyer, of Crystal Palace, powered in a header that goalkeeper Vedran Runje got a hand to, but the Croats picked up the pace and after 33 minutes Davor Vugrinec hit the underside of the bar.

A minute later they took the lead. The England goalkeeper, Chris Day of Tottenham, did well to beat away a shot from Ante Covic but Jurica Vucko made no mistake from the rebound.

Vucko should have added a second after the break when he shot wide from in front of goal.

ENGLAND UNDER-21: Day (Tottenham); Brown (Man City), Briscoe (Sheff Wed), O'Connor (Everton), Rufus (Charlton), Thatcher (Millwall), Cooke (Man Utd), Ford (Leeds), Gallen (QPR), Dyer (C Palace), Holland (Newcastle). Substitutes: Plummer (QPR) for O'Connor, 63; Carbon (Derby) for Thatcher, 63; Moore (Tranmere) for Gallen, 71; Davis (Luton) for Day, 71; Hendrie (Aston Villa) for Ford, 86.

CROATIA UNDER-21: Runje; Milic, Cuitanovic, Thomas, Lalic, Juric, Vucko, Cizmek, Maric, Vugrinec, Kovic. Substitutes: Krznaric for Vucko, 77; Tudor for Kovic, 87; Ivankovic for Vugrinec, 85

Referee: W Young (Glasgow).

n England Under-18 reached the finals of the European Championship in France this summer after a 3-0 win over their Scotland in Yeovil last night. Tottenham's Stephen Clemence, son of former Liverpool and Spurs goalkeeper Ray, scored the first goal from a penalty. Leeds United's Andy Shepherd and Jason Blunt completed the scoring.

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