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Football: Sinclair lights up young England

England Under-21. . .2

Russia Under-21 . . .0

IF THE football of England's Under-21 team in the Deferrari stadium yesterday did not quite match the spectacular setting of the Mediterranean shimmering in the sun it was still more than good enough to produce an opening-day win in the annual Toulon tournament, writes Nicholas Harling from Bandol.

Watched by Terry Venables, the national team coach, England gave notice that they are looking for a fourth triumph here in five years.

With three new caps in Dave Sexton's team - five after the introduction of Ian Selley and Chris Makin - it was hardly surprising that England initially lacked composure.

With the confidence that a goal brings, however, a measure of rapport was subsequently established after Trevor Sinclair had put England ahead with a neat header on the half-hour following a free-kick from Chris Bart-Williams.

England went further ahead through a Bart-Williams penalty 22 minutes later, after Bruce Dyer was brought down by Mikhail Kharin.

The England goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard was generally well protected by the Spurs pair of Stuart Nethercott and Sol Campbell but when the Russians did break he made good saves from Denis Kliuev and Ilchat Faizulin.

ENGLAND (3-1-4-2): Gerrard (Oldham Athletic); Edghill (Manchester City), Nethercott (Tottenham Hotspur), Campbell (Tottenham Hotspur); Gordon (Crystal Palace); Parlour (Arsenal), Redknapp (Liverpool), Bart-Williams (Sheffield Wednesday), Sinclair (QPR); Fear (Wimbledon), Dyer (Crystal Palace). Substitutes: Selley (Arsenal) for Parlour 51; Fowler (Liverpool) for Dyer 65; Makin (Oldham) for Edghill 85.

RUSSIA (1-4-3-2): Kharin (Torpedo Moscow); Lipko (Spartak Moscow); Faizulin (CSKA Moscow), Mamontiev (Zenit St Petersburg), Kuprianov (CSKA Moscow); Bavykin (CSKA Moscow), Berketov (Rotor Volgograd), Nekrassov (Dynamo Moscow), Konovalov (Spartak Moscow); Kliuev (Dynamo Moscow), Dmitriev (Zenit St Petersburg). Substitiute: Kozemov (Torpedo Moscow) for Nekrassov 42.

Referee: L Schelings (Belgium).