Football: England reach semi-finals: Dyer leads way for Sexton's youngsters

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The Independent Online
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THEY will surely have witnessed more gripping sporting spectacles over the centuries in this ancient Roman town than the qualification last night of the England Under-21 team for the later stages of the Toulon tournament but, at least, Dave Sexton's team managed to achieve its moderate target without too much embarrassment, writes Nicholas Harling from Arles.

Needing to beat the United States in case the Russians surprised France in Cannes, England did just that in the Stade Fournier to reach Sunday's semi-final in the Marseilles suburb of Berre l'Etang, where their opponents could be Scotland.

England went ahead after 14 minutes when Darren Eadie's centre from the left wing caused consternation in the American defence. Distracted by challenges from Trevor Sinclair and Robbie Fowler, Paul Grafer could do nothing to stop Bruce Dyer prodding in his first international goal from a yard out.

Sinclair and Eadie, on the flanks, were England's bright sparks and it was from Sinclair's cross on the hour that Fowler headed the second goal. The England captain, Jamie Redknapp, completed his side's victory with the third goal, from the penalty spot after 79 minutes, having put Dyer through to be up- ended by Grafer.

ENGLAND UNDER-21 (4-4-2): Oakes (Aston Villa); Makin (Oldham), Nethercott, Campbell (both Tottenham), Gordon (Crystal Palace); Sinclair (Queen's Park Rangers), Selley (Arsenal), Redknapp (Liverpool), Eadie (Norwich); Dyer (Crystal Palace), Fowler (Liverpool). Substitute: Fear (Wimbledon) for Fowler, 62.

UNITED STATES UNDER-21 (4-4-2): Grafer (William and Mary College); Hejduk (University of California), Wood (Virginia Univ), Berhalter (Univ of North Carolina), Pollard (Virginia Univ); Vargas (Miama Coral Park), McKeown (Univ of St Louis), Baba (Clemson Univ), Jonas (North Carolina State Univ); Amani-Dove (Rutgers Univ), Lanza (Univ of Notre Dame).

Referee: A Trentalange (Italy).