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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 01:18 GMT 02:18 UK
Jeffers leads the way
Arsenal's England Under-21 international Francis Jeffers
Jeffers has a fine record at this level
England U-21 3-1 Macedonia U-21

An impressive Francis Jeffers hat-trick inspired the England Under-21 side to a comfortable victory over Macedonia.

After bagging two goals against Slovakia last Friday, the Arsenal striker was on the mark again as he claimed his 12th goal in 12 games at this level.

David Platt's side now have six points from two games and he said he was delighted with that perfect start.


Frannie will score goals if we create them
David Platt

"We weren't as fluid as we were on Friday," added Platt.

"It was a bit sporadic in the first half, but in the second half we were a lot better."

And while Jeffers took the glory, Platt was keen to praise the whole team.

"Frannie will score goals if we create them," said Platt.

"But the team's got to be playing well to create those chances."

In the crowd to watch the Arsenal player's cameo performance was former Brazilian coach Luis Felipe Scolari, who sat alongside Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein.

Macedonia's Danco Masev holds off England's Joe Cole
Cole again impressed for England

Jeffers, along with Joe Cole and Jermaine Jenas, provided the outstanding performances in a staccato performance from Platt's team.

England had opened brightly, with Cole and David Prutton both almost putting Shola Ameobi in on goal.

It was Jeffers who had the first real chance when he raced into space on the right side of the area, with Macedonia keeper Tome Pacovski blocking his shot.

In the other goal, Liverpool's Chris Kirkland had reclaimed the position from Wolves' Matt Murray, after recovering from the neck injury which kept him out of Friday's game.

But the Liverpool keeper pulled up sharply when he went to catch the ball and Murray had to replace Kirkland after 25 minutes.

Former Brazilian coach Luis Felipe Scolari
Scolari sat alongside Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein

As the pace of the game slowed, so did England before Jeffers fired David Platt's side into the lead.

The Arsenal man picked up Jenas' pass and slipped the ball past Pacovski.

Five minutes after the interval Cole picked out Jeffers in the box and the Arsenal striker neatly tucked the ball away.

After Gareth Barry had conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box, Zoran Baldovaliev thumped the ball past Murray to resuscitate the Macedonian cause.

But within a couple of minutes Prutton had threaded the ball through to Jeffers after more good work by Jenas and the Arsenal striker again finished calmly.


England U-21: Kirkland, Samuel, Konchesky, Barry, Bramble, Carrick, Prutton, Jenas, Cole, Ameobi, Jeffers.
Subs: Crouch, Murray, Dawson, Zamora, Wright-Phillips, Taylor, Pennant.

Macedonia U-21: Pacovski, Trajcev, Ivanovski, Fakic, Gjorgjiev, Karcev, Masev, Baldovaliev, Naumov, Bozinovski, Despotvski.
Subs: Nuredinovski, Lazerevski, Gligorovski, Meglenski, Stepanovski, Tasevski, Postolov.

Referee: Lawrence Sammut (Malta).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Pearce
"A very comfortable England win"
England coach David Platt
"We played well in patches"
England v Macedonia news

England 2-2 Mac'donia

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