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Last Updated: Monday, 11 June 2007, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
Czech Rep U21 0-0 England U21
Leroy Lita drags his penalty wide
Lita's effort from the spot shaved the outside of the post
Leroy Lita missed a late penalty as England opened their European Under-21 Championship campaign with a draw.

The Czech Republic were resolute and England struggled to fashion chances, particularly in a dour first half.

Kieran Richardson failed to convert an easy header after the break, while at the other end Scott Carson tipped a Daniel Pudil free-kick on to the post.

David Nugent fired a shot wide before he won the spot-kick three minutes from time for handball against Roman Hubnik.

The miss proved ironic as England had practised penalties at the end of their friendly against Slovakia before the tournament began.

And the night's frustrations were added to by overly fussy Hungarian referee Zsolt Szabo booking Nugent, Richardson, Gary Cahill and Ashley Young.

Those yellow cards could come back to haunt England later in the tournament - as could Lita's miss, which shaved the outside of the post.

606: DEBATE

A spot-kick looked the only way England would break down their well-organised opponents in Arnhem.

Stuart Pearce's men had just one effort on target in the first-half, from Nugent, and could not find any real fluency, even after the break.

Richardson should have broken the deadlock as England looked to up the tempo, but he missed a gilt-edged chance at the back post as Nugent flicked on James Milner's cross.

And Nigel Reo-Coker's hesitancy in front of goal, added to a wayward shot in the first half, cost England twice in the opposing box.

Nugent went close with 20 minutes remaining when gifted possession from a poor pass, while Ashley Young's attempted pull back from the byeline to a quartet of waiting men in red was smothered by Hubnik.

At the other end Carson saved well from Jan Kysela after England's new-look defensive partnership of Nedum Onouha and Gary Cahill had been caught cold early.

And as well as the save to deny Pudil, he was able to look on as Martin Fillo, Jiri Kladrubsky and Tomasz Jirsak fired narrowly wide.

As could Zdenek Zlamal when Lita stepped up to take England's penalty after Hubnik handled as Nugent looked to lift the ball over the otherwise outstanding Czech skipper.



SEE ALSO
Chris Waddle on England's U21s
12 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Pearce calls for U21 improvement
11 Jun 07 |  Internationals
U21s need full-time boss - Pearce
10 Jun 07 |  Football


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