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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 20:03 GMT 21:03 UK
Switzerland U21s 2-3 England U21s
Theo Walcott
Walcott opened the scoring
England Under-21s reached the European Championship play-offs after a late winner from Newcastle's James Milner gave them victory over Switzerland.

Needing a win in Lucerne to top the group, Arsenal's teenage forward Theo Walcott put England ahead before David Nugent of Preston doubled the lead.

Johan Vonlanthen pulled a goal back from the penalty spot before Tranquillo Barnetta curled in an equaliser.

But with two minutes left Milner found the bottom corner to seal the win.

At 2-0 up after 18 minutes England looked in complete control.

"We scored two fabulous goals which put us in a fantastic position before we let in a poor goal which put us under pressure," said coach Peter Taylor.

Walcott struck after 13th minutes with a lob Taylor described as being of the "highest quality" and five minutes later Nugent made it two when he converted Wayne Routledge's low cross from the right.

But England could not hold onto their advantage.

Vonlanthen was brought down by Scott Carson after 28 minutes, with the goalkeeper avoiding an instant dismissal but unable to stop the striker's spot-kick.

Switzerland, only needing a draw to qualify for the play-offs, continued to push forward and were rewarded when Barnetta cut in from the right and unleashed a curling effort to beat Carson.

The two goalscorers were two of the full internationals who featured for the hosts, who brought a raft of seniors into their side as they looked to confirm their place at the top of the three-team group that also included Moldova.

And just when it looked as if they would qualify in top spot Milner struck to give part-time coach Taylor extra time in his role.

The Crystal Palace boss, who is working on a match-by-match basis while England head coach Steve McClaren looks for a full-time successor, said: "If we got to the finals, of course I'd love to take them there.

"I'm happy to carry on. I'm delighted that I'll, hopefully, be doing it for the next play-off games, which should be very exciting.

That play-off to determine whether England will line up at the 2007 finals will take place in October.



SEE ALSO
England U21 2-2 Moldova U21
15 Aug 06 |  Internationals


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