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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 16 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 8, 2006

England Under-21s draw Germany in play-offs

England Under-21s will face Germany next month in a two-legged play-off to reach next year's European Championship finals.

Peter Taylor's youngsters defeated Switzerland on Wednesday evening to top their three-team group and secure a place in the next phase of qualifying.

Taylor is in charge on a match-by-match basis until England boss Steve McClaren finds a full-time successor, with the Crystal Palace boss expected to be in charge for the match on October 7 and the second leg four days later.

England drew twice with Germany in the group stage of their last qualification campaign, although they looked set for victory at the KC Stadium until a late blunder by goalkeeper Scott Carson.

Taylor was unable to guide England past the play-off stage last time out - a Franck Ribery-inspired France beat them over two legs - and believes it is vital for his players' development to reach the finals.

Taylor can also ask McClaren if he can borrow eligible senior players for the tie, with England at home for the first leg.

'Of course now we'd love any body young enough to get us through the play-offs,' Taylor said. 'The tournament is very important to the education of the players, we'd love to put out the strongest team possible.'