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UEFA U21 Championship

  • June 12, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • MCH Arena, Herning
  • Referee: M. Strömbergsson
  • • Attendance: 8046

Spain U21 1-1 England U21: Late Danny Welbeck strike cancels out Ander Herrera's opener

Spain U21 1-1 England U21: Late Danny Welbeck strike cancels out Ander Herrera's opener

The Manchester United man earned Stuart Pearce's side a draw despite Spain dominating possession for long spells of the contest

A late Danny Welbeck strike handed England a creditable 1-1 draw with Spain in their opening fixture of the European Under-21 championship in Denmark.

The Manchester United hitman netted with three minutes left, cancelling out Ander Herrera's first-half header that for long spells had looked good enough to give Spain the win, and in the end both sides were forced to share the points in Group B.

World Cup winners Juan Mata and Javi Martinez were both handed starts for Luis Milla's tournament favourites, while Stuart Pearce's opposition opted for Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge in attack, alongside Manchester United product Welbeck.

It took Spain just 14 minutes to edge ahead thanks to a set-piece. Thiago Alcantara's out-swinging corner was met by the head of captain Martinez, and Ander Herrera was unmarked at the back post to nod home from close range, although there was more than a hint of handball surrounding his finish. It was a goal that was poorly defended by England, however.

La Rojita gained great confidence from their lead, and entered into a spell of possession football that left Pearce's players chasing shadows in their attempt to regain the ball. Their play was was without further penetration, however, and as the interval approached England slowly recovered from their early setback.

On the stroke of half-time a lung-bursting run from Kyle Walker almost orchestrated an equaliser. His low cross was leapt at by Sturridge, and as the ball deflected towards goal, David de Gea had to look sharp to claw the ball behind with his outstretched arm.

In the second half, Spain regained control without truly turning their influence into goalscoring opportunities. Ander had a speculative strike well saved by Fielding, who reacted to a deflection from the foot of Chris Smalling.

Full-back Martin Montoya then could only find the side netting at the end of a sweeping move, and England continued to find it difficult to emerge from their own territory.

However, with just three minutes remaining, England were able to fashion an unlikely equaliser. Walker, one of the most enterprising players on the pitch, drove forward on the right and played in Welbeck, who appeared to be in an offside position, but was allowed to slot the ball into the corner from eight yards out.

Spain were sparked back into life, but had no time to regain their advantage, and were made to rue their inability to kill the match off. The result sees the Czech Republic top Group B on three points, following their 2-1 win over Ukraine earlier in the day.

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