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Page last updated at 21:59 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 22:59 UK

England to contest Hart booking

England goalkeeper Joe Hart
Hart scored England's second penalty in the shoot-out

England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce will appeal against the booking given to goalkeeper Joe Hart in his side's European Championship semi-final.

Hart was booked for talking to Sweden's players during England's 5-4 penalty shoot-out win, ruling him out of Monday's final against Germany.

But Uefa is highly unlikely to reverse the decision unless it is a case of mistaken identity.

"I don't think there's rules on talking to the penalty taker," said Pearce.

"If there's no grounds (for an appeal), we have two other goalkeepers."

Pearce also has Peterborough's Joe Lewis and Watford's Scott Loach to call upon if needed.

Hart was shown his second yellow card of the tournament by Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir at the end of a see-saw encounter in which England took a 3-0 half time lead before Sweden drew level in the second half to force extra-time.

"We're fair-minded enough to say we have no problems with necessary bookings, but when you've played for two-and-a-bit hours, after four matches, to book a goalkeeper for what he deems ungentlemanly conduct... (is unfair)," said an exasperated Pearce.

Pearce will also have two other players missing for the final after Gabriel Agbonlahor picked up a second yellow card of the tournament and Fraizer Campbell was sent off during the match.

Agbonlahor said: "I'm disappointed. It was the same ref who gave me the first yellow and if you look back at them, they are both harsh.

"Three of us are suspended but we have a good squad and we will be fine."

England made amends for their 13-12 penalty shoot-out defeat to the Netherlands in 2007 with Friday's win in Gothenburg's Gamla Ullevi.

In a game of two halves, England were 3-0 up at half time thanks to goals from Martin Cranie, Nedum Onuoha and a Mattias Bjarsmyr own goal but conceded three second half Sweden goals - two from Marcus Berg and an Ola Toivonen free-kick.

During the shoot-out Hart was both hero and villain, saving Sweden's first penalty from Berg after James Milner had missed for England to keep the scores level, then scoring from the spot himself before being booked.

"As soon as I got a yellow card I was determined to win it," said Hart.

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Following four subsequent successfully converted penalties each, Keiran Gibbs slotted home England's sixth effort but Guillermo Molins hit the post with Sweden's equivalent spot-kick to send England through to the final against Germany.

"We should have put the game to bed. Too many had an eye on the final and wanted to let others do their work for them," said Pearce.

"I was disappointed with the manner that we chucked away the lead.

"We looked like we were going to win comfortably, then we looked like going out. But the lads have a lot of character.

"There were some good things, some awful. It was game management at its worst. But I am learning and so are the players."

Pearce's men practised penalties in every training session for two years, while Sweden only focused on them the day before the match.

Sweden coach Jorgen Lennartsson said: "We only practised penalties once. I don't believe in practice. It is 90% mental in that situation."

As a player, Pearce twice suffered semi-final shoot-out heartbreak, against Germany at the 1990 World Cup and against the same opponents at Euro 96, as well as seeing his Under-21 charges lose in 2007 at the same stage.

"This is only a semi-final," Pearce added.

"The game on Monday is the one. We have come to win it, and we have one team standing in our way. It is the furthest I have been. It is now down to who has the guts to win it."



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see also
Pearce's England banish penalty pain
27 Jun 09 |  Internationals
England U21 3-3 Sweden U21 (aet)
26 Jun 09 |  Internationals
England U21 1-1 Germany U21
22 Jun 09 |  Internationals
England U21 2-0 Spain U21
18 Jun 09 |  Internationals
England U21s 2-1 Finland U21s
15 Jun 09 |  Internationals


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