Under-21 Championship: England dodge main dangers


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The Independent Football

England received a kind draw for next summer's European Under-21 Championship finals, in a group with hosts Israel, Norway and Italy.

Stuart Pearce's team thereby avoided the defending champions Spain, who helped knock England out of the 2011 tournament at the group stage, Germany, who beat them in the 2009 final, and the Netherlands, who won a semi-final penalty shoot-out two years earlier.

England renew their rivalry with Norway, whom they pipped to top spot in their qualifying group, while Italy won their group before beating Sweden in the play-offs. Pearce, said: "We will have to be at it from the off to beat the very best."