Football: Heskey leads England to glorious exit
Thursday 18 December 1997
4-4 on agg; Greece win on away goals
England staged a stirring comeback, but went out of the European Under- 21 Championship on the away-goals rule in a dramatic play-off second leg with Greece at Carrow Road last night.
Peter Taylor's side had looked down and out after two madcap first-half minutes left them trailing 2-1 on the evening and 4-1 on aggregate. But, inspired by two-goal Emile Heskey and the debutant Michael Owen, who must have improved his chances of selection for the World Cup finals, they almost succeeded in pulling the game out of the fire.
To their credit, however, Greece held on to set up a quarter-final with Germany. Nevertheless, Taylor and the watching England coach, Glenn Hoddle, will have been greatly encouraged by their performance.
Owen produced the first on-target effort in the 15th minute when Sotirios Limperopoulos did well to hold on to a 20-yard shot which dipped awkwardly. Limperopoulos had no chance six minutes later when Heskey headed home Carl Serrant's free-kick, but within five minutes England were behind.
First Pantelis Konstantinidis got behind Michael Duberry and shot past Richard Wright. Then Marcus Hall tried to turn a low, left-wing centre from Dermitzakias out for a corner but only beat his own keeper.
England were stunned, but gamely equalised in the 33rd minute, Heskey heading a second goal after a left-wing centre from the wily Frank Lampard.
England dominated the start of the second half without reward, but in the 60th minute Owen gave them a lifeline with his first Under-21 goal. A centre from the impressive Martin Bullock, who had replaced Duberry, was nodded on by Heskey and Owen shot home from close range.
With 11 minutes left Hall made amends for his own goal with a fierce shot that brought the sides level on aggregate. Taylor's side pushed eagerly for the winner, but the Greeks survived.
ENGLAND UNDER-21: Wright (Ipswich); Scimeca (Aston Villa), Serrant (Oldham) Duberry (Chelsea), Ferdinand (West Ham), Hall (Coventry), Carragher (Liverpool), Lampard (West Ham), Heskey (Leicester), Owen (Liverpool), Murray (QPR). Substitutes: Scowcroft (Ipswich) for Serrant, 49; Bullock (Barnsley) for Duberry, 58.
GREECE UNDER-21: S Limperopoulos, Mavrogenidis, Dermitzakias (Katsouris, 67), Alexopoulos (Basinas, 45), Antzas, Goumas, Karagounis (Koulakiotis, 55), Kiassos, Konstantinidis, N Limperopoulos, Stoltidis.
Referee: E Blareau (Belgium).
Latest in Sport
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on today but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Liverpool to confirm Sean O'Driscoll and Pep Lijnders for Brendan Rodgers' backroom coaching staff
Manchester City transfer news: City determined to sign Paul Pogba and meet £71m British transfer record
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 1 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 2 What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
- 3 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...