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Tuesday 11 September 2012

Wickham puts England U21s in Euro play-offs

Sunderland striker scores the winner in 1-0 victory over Norway in Chesterfield

Connor Wickham scores for England Under-21s against Norway in Chesterfield


England Under-21s booked their place in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-offs after Connor Wickham sealed a 1-0 victory over Norway in Chesterfield.

The Sunderland striker pounced on a defensive mistake just before half-time to give England a win that means they will be seeded for Friday’s play-off draw as they aim to reach next year’s finals in Israel.

England, who were without Aston Villa’s Nathan Delfouneso because of illness, had to withstand Norwegian pressure in the second half while Havard Nielsen’s effort came off the bar.

Stuart Pearce’s men won seven of their eight group matches and were five points clear of Norway, who also qualify for the play-offs.

Full match report: click here >>


Arsenal midfielder Conor Henderson scored with a superb long-range strike as the Republic of Ireland recorded a 4-2 victory over Italy in Casarano despite having two players sent off.

Henderson claimed Ireland's third goal with a 25-yard screamer that beat Italy goalkeeper Mattia Perin and flew into the top corner.

Ireland, who also had Sunderland defender John Egan and Aston Villa midfielder Samir Carruthers in their starting line-up, were out of play-off contention as Italy had sealed top place in the group.


Scotland's play-off hopes were dashed as an injury-time goal gave Austria a 3-2 victory in Altach.

Aston Villa striker Andreas Weimann had scored Austria's second before turning provider for Raphael Holzhauser to score the late winner past Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Jordan Archer in the Scotland goal.

West Bromwich Albion's Scott Allan and Liverpool defender Danny Wilson were also in the Scotland line-up.

Everton forward Apostolos Vellios came on for the final 30 minutes for Greece as they recorded a 1-0 victory over Cyprus. Both sides were already out of contention for the play-offs.

Wales ended their qualifying campaign with a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Group 3 winners Czech Republic in Jablonec nad Nisou.

The Wales starting line-up featured the Swansea City quartet of Daniel Alfei, Gwion Edwards, David Cornell and Lee Lucas, Manchester City’s Emyr Huws, and was skippered by Reading's Jake Taylor.

Meanwhile, new Chelsea signing Oscar produced a virtuoso display to help Brazil to record an emphatic 8-0 win over China in a friendly international in Recife.

Oscar set up club-mate Ramires to open the scoring on 22 minutes before creating assists for two of Neymar's three goals. The 21-year-old got on the scoresheet himself when he completed the scoring from the penalty spot.

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Key Points

  • Connor Wickham scores winner as England U-21s defeat Norway
  • England qualify for Friday's UEFA Euro 2013 play-off draw
  • Arsenal's Conor Henderson scores superb goal for Republic of Ireland