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England U21 1-2 Greece U21

Andy Carroll, Lee Cattermole and Jack Wilshere
England face a tough task to reach the European Championship

England Under-21s' hopes of qualifying for the European Championship are no longer in their own hands after a disappointing home defeat to Greece.

The visitors took the lead when a header was cleared as far as Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who shot home.

The Greeks doubled their lead early in the second half when a Chris Smalling mistake let in Ioannis Papadopoulos, who curled the ball into the corner.

England substitute Nathan Delfouneso's sharp finish was only a consolation.

It was a poor performance from Stuart Pearce's men, who were restricted to long-range efforts from Tom Cleverley and Lee Cattermole.

Delfouneso's strike sparked a late flurry but the home side failed to muster a clear-cut opening.

England must win their remaining matches against Portugal and Lithuania, and hope Greece lose to Macedonia, to reach the playoffs ahead of the finals in Denmark.

England under-21 coach Stuart Pearce:
"We weren't at the races tonight, we were poor.

We didn't play to a standard that's acceptable to us. We tried to go from back to front too much, we didn't play enough through the midfield and we gave possession away too lightly.

"I've got to give credit to the Greeks, I thought they played very well and certainly deserved their victory. We have to learn the lesson from it.

"Rarely have this team let me down. I'm disappointed with it and, more importantly, the players are as well."

England U21: Loach, Walker, Richards, Smalling (Delfouneso 74), Bertrand, Cleverley (Gosling 87), Muamba (Sturridge 54), Cattermole, Rodwell, Wilshere, Carroll.

Subs Not Used: Fielding, Tomkins, Mancienne, Delph.

Goals: Delfouneso 79.

Greece U21: Giakoumis, Argyriou, Skondras, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Papastathopoulos, Siovas, Dimoutsos, Giannis Papadopoulos, Mitroglou (Thanassis Papazoglou 72), Koutsianikoulis (Katsikogiannis 62), Giantsis (Gentsoglou 78).

Subs Not Used: Stratilatis, Tasos Papazoglou, Apostolopoulos, Soiledis.

Booked: Argyriou, Katsikogiannis.

Goals: Kyriakos Papadopoulos 28, Giannis Papadopoulos 48.

Att: 5,221

Ref: Marijo Strahonja (Croatia).

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see also
England 3-1 Egypt
03 Mar 10 |  Football
Holland U21 0-0 England U21
11 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Pearce signs new England contract
29 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Euro U21 final as it happened
29 Jun 09 |  Football

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