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Page last updated at 18:28 GMT, Saturday, 24 July 2010 19:28 UK

England Under-19s into Euro semi

Nathan Delfouneso
Delfouneso was a constant threat for England up front

Matthew Phillips's injury-time strike earned England a 1-1 draw with France and booked them a place in the European Under-19 Championship semi-finals.

After a goalless first-half, Yannis Tafer nodded home to put the free-flowing hosts in front in Saint-Lo.

But Wycombe midfielder Phillips tapped in a dramatic leveller after his initial headed effort had been saved.

The point proved enough to give England second spot in Group A and set up a last-four clash with Spain on Tuesday.

France, who topped the table on seven points, will face Croatia in the other semi-final.

Lively striker Nathan Delfouneso provided England's greatest threat in the early stages, and his industry was almost rewarded when his long-range effort drew an impressive save from French goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo.

At the other end, Norwich keeper Declan Rudd showed good reactions to stop an angled Cedric Bakambu strike with his feet.

606: DEBATE

France emerged with greater ambition after the break and their fluid passing movements frequently left England's defence in disarray.

A superbly worked counter-attack had England's defenders chasing shadows and ended with a 25-yard Clement Grenier strike rattling the post.

Two minutes later, Newcastle striker Ryan Donaldson found Delfouneso with a subtle through-ball but the Aston Villa youngster slid the ball agonisingly wide.

France broke the deadlock in the 56th minute thanks to another intricately executed attack. When the ball eventually found its way into the box to Gilles Sunu, the Arsenal forward crossed to the unmarked Tafer, of Lyon, who nodded easily past the stranded Rudd.

Tottenham defender Steven Caulker rose well to nod goalwards from a corner but his header was cleared off the line by Cedric Bakambu.

Rudd again denied Bakambu with his feet before a meandering run from Delfouneso almost conjured a brilliant equaliser - his edge-of-the-area effort, though, was tipped away by the excellent Diallo, of Rennes.

Just when it seemed like England's tournament was over, coach Noel Blake's two late substitutes combined to produce a last-gasp leveller.

Ryan Noble's pinpoint delivery was met by the head of on-rushing fellow sub Phillips who saw Diallo's save fall fortuitously into his path for a simple finish from close range.

And a late penalty in Mondeville gave Austria a 1-0 win over a ten-man Netherlands to ensure England progressed by a point at the expense of the Dutch.

As an added bonus, England have now qualified for the Under-20 World Cup, although a third-placed finish in the table would also have sealed their place in the 2011 tournament in Colombia.



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see also
England Under-19s lose to Dutch
21 Jul 10 |  Football
England Under-19s win Euro opener
18 Jul 10 |  Football
FA eyes homegrown England coach
16 Jul 10 |  Football
McClaren bemoans talent 'vacuum'
16 Jul 10 |  Football
Wilkinson fears for England team
29 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
England Under-17s win Euro title
31 May 10 |  Football


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