Rudd helps England into semi-finals

England will face Spain in the semi-finals of the Uefa European Under-19 Championships after a last-gasp equaliser from Matt Phillips earned them a draw against hosts France in their final group game.

England will face Spain in the semi-finals of the Uefa European Under-19 Championships after a last-gasp equaliser from Matt Phillips earned them a draw against hosts France in their final group game.

France had taken a deserved lead, after missing a host of first half chances, in the 56th minute when Lyon striker Yannis Tafer was left unmarked to head past Canaries goalkeeper Declan Rudd.

Aston Villa forward Nathan Delfouneso spurned two great chances for England, but Wycombe's Phillips got the equaliser as he scrambled home a rebound after his initial header had been saved in the third minute of added time.

England reached the last four at the expense of Holland, who lost 1-0 to Austria.


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Rudd made two good saves in the opening 25 minutes, turning round an early shot from Enzo Reale and right-foot shot from Nathan Delfouneso.

England coach Noel Blake was delighted by the result.

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“We kept going, and I thought that was as well as we've played so far in the competition,” he said. “The lads never gave up, played some good football and we created some good chances throughout.

“Their goalkeeper has made some saves too, but we kept at them and got what we deserved in the end.”

“We're in the semi-final, we're pleased with that and we'll take it from there and the next objective is to reach the final.”

England return to Saint-Lo to face Spain - the Group B winners - tomorrow.

“We've played Spain at several levels over the years and we know what they're about and they will know about us,” said Blake.

“It's another game, and we'll go into it with confidence.”

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