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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
Pearce expecting England progress
England U21 coach Stuart Pearce
Pearce knows victory against Serbia puts England in the semi-finals
England coach Stuart Pearce is pleased his side's destiny remains in their own hands after the 2-2 draw with Italy in the European Under-21 Championship.

England play already-qualified Serbia on Sunday and know a victory will guarantee a place in the semi-finals.

"We know our fate now. If they can show that determination I think we will win against Serbia, but it will be a tough game again," he said.

"I thought this was a great spectacle and a credit to the tournament."

Pearce saw his team storm into a 2-0 lead against the Italians, but Pierluigi Casiraghi's side came back strongly to level.

Both sides had chances to win in an open game which was at odds with a low-scoring tournament.

It will be a massive blow to lose Ashley Young against Serbia - He has excited me

England U21 coach Stuart Pearce
"I thought it would be a cricket score in the first 20 minutes, we were outstanding," Pearce said.

"For much of the game we had to dig in. Their mentality was that they had to win, and it was ours too."

And former Manchester City coach Pearce hailed his players' character on a humid evening in Arnhem, which was played under the closed roof of the Gelredome owing to heavy rain.

"I thought we showed signs of tiredness, but the determination of all of them, they don't want to be beaten," he said.

"We still haven't been beaten and we have to try to win the game and go through to the semi-final. But the ball's in our court."

Pearce is not the nicest person, we exchanged opinions but it's nothing important

Italy U21 coach Pierluigi Casiraghi here
Pearce hailed the performance of Aston Villa forward Ashley Young, who will miss the Serbia game after receiving a second booking of the tournament in the dying moments.

"It will be a massive blow," Pearce admitted. "He has excited me. He is doing himself no harm in my opinion."

Goalscorer Leroy Lita said he was disappointed England had not won the match but said he remained positive England would reach the semi-finals.

"We gave ourselves a great start, we had a lot of chances," he said.

"We dropped too deep and allowed them back into the game.

"But we're still in the tournament and we've got to go into the last game being positive."

Fellow goalscorer David Nugent added: "We seemed to back off a little bit any they got back in the game. They're a quality side."

Italian coach Casiraghi admitted he had fallen out with Pearce during the match.

"It was a little bit nervous and during the game sometimes it's difficult for the coaches to hold," said the former Chelsea striker whose career was cut short by injury.

"He is not the nicest person, we exchanged opinions but it's nothing important.

"On the pitch during the game he was not very correct towards myself. There was a just a short exchange of views on the pitch but it was nothing important."



SEE ALSO
England U21 2-2 Italy U21
14 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Chris Waddle on England's U21s
12 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Czech Rep U21 0-0 England U21
11 Jun 07 |  Internationals


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