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Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 21:35 GMT
England U21s go through
Holland's Jos Van Nieuwstadt tackles Jermain Defoe
Holland's Jos Van Nieuwstadt tackles Jermain Defoe
England U21 1-0 Holland U21 (3-2 on aggregate)

The England Under-21s won through to the European Championship with a defiant and disciplined performance at Pride Park.

West Ham midfielder Michael Carrick scored from close range midway through the second half to give England a 1-0 win on the night and a 3-2 victory on aggregate.

But England's real hero was goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who pulled off a string of outstanding saves to deny the impressive visitors.

There had been much talk about England midfielder David Dunn in the run-up to the match following his imperious solo goal in the first leg last Friday.


We rode our luck a few times - the Dutch played very well
David Platt
England U21 coach
But the Blackburn player was rarely involved as Holland had the better of the game.

The outstanding outfield player was actually Rafael van der Vaart, who was involved in most of Holland's best moves.

England had gone into this game as hot favourites following their impressive 2-2 draw in Utrecht in the first leg.

But Holland dominated the first half.

Remco van der Schaaf and Van der Vaart were commanding in midfield, allowing Sean Davis and Carrick little time on the ball.

Wingers Dunn and Jermaine Pennant and strikers Shola Ameobi and Jermain Defoe were hardly in the game for England.

And the hosts were fortunate not to concede a goal before half-time.

Wayne Bridge blocked a far-post header from Van der Schaaf after 15 minutes.

Then Kirkland brilliantly saved a deflected shot from Patrick Ax with one hand.

England had very few chances. Dunn shot over the crossbar early on after a lay-off from Defoe, and Carrick shot wide of the far post following England's best move of the match near half-time.

Michael Carrick celebrates his winner
Michael Carrick celebrates his winner
The hosts were brighter in the second half, but again Holland had the better chances.

Kirkland reacted excellently to save from Kuyt and Ledley King showed great composure and awareness to shield the ball from Van der Vaart inside the area.

After riding their luck, England took the lead on 72 minutes.

Substitute Jonathan Greening fed the ball into Ameobi from the left wing. The leggy Newcastle frontman twisted and turned before firing low across the face of goal and Carrick slid in to score from inside the six-yard box.

Dunn came desperately close to adding another late on when he volleyed sharply from inside the area, but Rouwellar reacted sharply to save.


England U21: Kirkland, Wright, Bridge, Terry, King, Carrick, Davis, Dunn, Pennant, Ameobi, Defoe. Subs: Barry, Greening, Chadwick, Parker, Prutton, Wilson, Robinson.

Holland U21: Rouwellar, Heitinga, van Nieuwstadt, Knol, Bosschaart, van der Schaaf, Boussaboun, Zonneveld, Kuyt, van der Vaart, Ax. Subs: Wisgerhof, Mathijssen, Hersi, Denneboom, Mendes Da Silva, de Graaf, de Vries.

Referee: V Hrinak (Slovakia).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Dave Woods
"Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was the real star"
England under-21 coach David Platt
"I'll take the result rather than the performance"
England under-21 goalkeeper Chris Kirkland
"I'm pleased with my performance"
See also:

13 Nov 01 |  Football
Under-21 race hots up
Links to more Football stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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