Taylor aims high as youngsters show potential

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The Independent Football

Carlton Cole and Piotr Trochowski hit the woodwork in the second period but the spoils were shared between two sides guaranteed play-off places when the Group Six fixtures are completed.

"We had a sloppy start and when we conceded the first goal I was very nervous they would get another one," Taylor said. "But thankfully we carried on and got more confidence. I think we did some good things in the second half.

"Germany away is a very difficult fixture. We both had a lot of possession at times which was very much like in the first meeting [a 2-2 draw at Hull]. It was again a convincing performance. My goal was to achieve four points from the two matches [against Wales and Germany] so I am very pleased."

Taylor believes England can still win the group even though German lead with a slightly better goal difference. He added: "We play Austria and Poland at home and they have to travel to Austria. It's interesting with the goal difference being so tight. It would be nice to win the group because we would then get the [play-offs'] second leg at home in November, which we want to win."

Peter Whittingham, who set up the equaliser with a pin-point corner from the left, said it was too early to speculate about winning the group.

"Our main focus was on qualifying," he said. "We are happy we have achieved that and now we will see what comes next. The result today was fair and it's a very important point for us."

Whittingham's team-mate Nigel Reo-Coker believes England will sneak past Germany in the campaign's final two matches.

"We are very confident of winning the group," Reo-Coker said. "We have been unbeaten in our qualifying campaign and we should always have that positive vibe around the place. They are a strong side and very well organised but we are very confident ahead of the next games."

The West Ham United player said it was not the right time to pick favourites for the final round next summer. "That is too early to say now," he said. "Anyone who qualifies has the right to be there. Our main objective is to win the play-offs [in November] and get there."

England proved their versatility by successfully switching from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1, with Cole deployed as the lone striker. "We are taking the positives out of it," said Reo-Coker. "We changed our system and it worked well for us. It shows we are able to change our systems and still play well as a team. We had a lot of passing and ball movement."

The Germany manager, Dieter Eilts, admitted the two teams were "on almost the same level" after their second draw during the qualifying campaign. "We've had two very interesting matches against England," he said. "Both teams played very well tonight and it was a pretty offensive clash. We did a good job in defence had it not been for the let-down on their goal."

Taylor was impressed with the performance from Chelsea defender Robert Huth, who battled it out with team-mate Cole. "It was actually the first time I saw him play live and he is such a strong presence," Taylor said. "I am sure he will be a great defender."