Football: Clinical Cort seizes his chance

Luxembourg Under-21 0 England Under-21 5
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The Independent Online
ENGLAND'S UNDER-21 side took another large step towards reaching the European Championship finals when they achieved their biggest win under their coach, Peter Taylor, by demolishing the part-timers of Luxembourg.

It was England's third successive victory in the competition and answered Taylor's earlier request for more accuracy in front of goal with a vengeance. The Wimbledon striker Carl Cort helped himself to two late goals and only some below-par finishing from the Leicester forward Emile Heskey kept the scoreline within reasonable bounds.

Lee Hendrie turned in another sparkling display in the centre of the field and the Aston Villa player scored his first Under-21 goal before being substituted because of injury early in the second half.

Manchester United's John Curtis, who had looked at home in the sweeper's role against Bulgaria on Friday, was again impressive, this time in a right wing-back position in place of the injured Kieron Dyer.

There were also other encouraging performances from the captain, Frank Lampard - who was on target for the third successive Under-21 international - and the Manchester United defender Wesley Brown.

The only disappointing aspect for England was the sending off in the second half of the substitute, Jody Morris of Chelsea, in front of the watching senior coach, Glenn Hoddle.

Otherwise, England were in the ascendancy from the first whistle and Heskey squandered three good chances in the opening five minutes.

The Luxembourg keeper, Stephani Gillet, then saved a low drive from Lampard but it seemed only a matter of time before the home side, who often resorted to dragging everybody back in defence, would crack.

England eventually went ahead in the 24th minute when Hendrie drilled a 25-yard effort into the corner of the net after a one-two with Matt Jansen.

Within seconds Heskey almost made it two when his header was saved by Gillet. The only surprise was that it took England until first-half injury time to double their lead - and this time there was joy for the Arsenal defender Matthew Upson, another player celebrating his first goal at Under- 21 level. Lampard curled in a right-wing corner and Upson stole in at the far post to make no mistake with a close-range header.

England killed off any hope of a Luxembourg revival five minutes into the second period when Lampard hammered home a low 25-yard drive, after playing a short free-kick to Michael Ball.

In the 65th minute the impressive Curtis set up the fourth goal for the substitute Cort, who hammered the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Then came the Morris sending-off, but it made no difference to England's dominance and five minutes from time Cort got in on the scoring act for the second time when he lobbed the ball over the exposed Gillet.

LUXEMBOURG UNDER-21: Gillet; Birtz, Bonomi, Hellinbrand, Da Silva, Parrasch, Fernandes (Schaack, 45), Bollendorf, Santos, Pace (Lambert, 80), Huss (Bernard, 40).

ENGLAND UNDER-21: Wright (Ipswich Town), Curtis (Manchester Utd), Ball (Everton), Brown (Manchester Utd), Mills (Charlton), Upson (Arsenal), Lampard (West Ham Utd), Carragher (Liverpool), Heskey (Leicester City), Jansen (Crystal Palace), Hendrie (Aston Villa). Substitutes: Johnson (Ipswich Town) for Lampard, 72; Cort (Wimbledon) for Jansen, 56; Morris (Chelsea) for Hendrie, 49.

Referee: A Micallef (Malta).