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Welbeck leveller grabs Spain draw

England's European U21 championship got off to a shaky yet rewarding start when they escaped from a one-sided encounter with Spain to draw 1-1 in Herning.

• Welbeck, Pearce take positives from draw

Often passed to death by opponents who played in the flowing style familiar to their World Cup-winning senior colleagues, England's concession of a 14th minute goal was deserved, though Herrera clearly bundled in a set-piece move with his hand.

Stuart Pearce's initial selection looked in question but the introduction of Henri Lansbury for Danny Rose and Jack Rodwell for captain Michael Mancienne marked an improvement.

The outstanding Chris Smalling began a move that ended up with Kyle Walker supplying Danny Welbeck with an 88th minute equaliser, from a clear offside position but nevertheless drilled past David De Gea, soon to be of Manchester United, in the Spain goal.

Jordan Henderson and Phil Jones, both subjects of big-money moves in the last week, could not be said to have impressed their new values on a match in which the Spanish, for whom Thiago, Juan Mata and Javi Martinez were outstanding.

A double from captain Borek Dockal was enough for the Czech Republic to beat Ukraine 2-1 in the earlier game in Viborg and claim a top spot they retained after that later draw.

The Czech took the lead when Dockal finishing smashed in a superb left-footed volley in the 49th minute. Six minutes later, he was on the end of a fine passing move to score again with his left.

Ukraine made a late flurry and grabbed a consolation when sub Maksim Beliy scored on 87 minutes but the Czechs held on for what was a largely impressive and deserved victory.


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