England Under-21s drawn against Italy, Norway & Israel for Euro 2013

The Three Lion have avoided the last four winners of the competition in the draw for the group stage of next summer's tournament, with Stuart Pearce tipping his side to triumph

England Under-21s have been drawn with hosts Israel, Norway and five-time winners Italy in next summer's Euro 2013 Championships group stage.

The Three Lions, who managed to avoid holders Spain, were runners-up in 2009 with a side including the likes of Joe Hart, James Milner and Theo Walcott - and have been placed in Group A.

England have already faced Norway in qualification, beating the Norse side 1-0 at home and 2-1 away, while Israel were denied a place in the 2009 tournament by Italy.

The tournament will be England’s fourth successive appearance, and manager Stuart Pearce considers his side one of the favourites having yet to concede a goal in 2012.

"I thought the draw would only serve to underline what we already knew - that we will have to be at it from the off to beat the very best young teams in Europe if we are to succeed in this tournament," Pearce told TheFA.com.

"We are in with the hosts and they'll be backed by some great home support.

"Norway we know all about and there was very little between us in qualifying. Italy are technically very difficult to break down and we have experience of them in the past.

"On paper it might look easy, but it never works that way. We are excited by it.

"We shouldn't forget that, as much as we're looking around at other teams and talking about their qualities, they'll be looking at us and probably talking in the same terms about our qualities.

"After all, we are a team that has just gone through a calendar year unbeaten and without conceding a goal - few can boast a record as solid as that. That is credit to the players.

"This will be our fourth tournament, and we'll bring great experience with us in the summer, especially within my staff.”