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By ESPN Staff

Five-star England U21s cruise to win

England Under-21s maintained their 100% record in the 2013 European Championship qualifiers with a comprehensive win over Iceland at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester.

Stuart Pearce: Tonight wasn't a 5-0 result

• Full match highlights (UK only)
• England players pleased with win

Watford striker Marvin Sordell and Liverpool defender Martin Kelly looked to have taken England to a routine win, with further goals from West Brom's Craig Dawson and a late brace from Aston Villa youngster Gary Gardner making the final score more emphatic and giving Stuart Pearce's men four straight wins to move five points clear at the top of Group 8.

Pearce will now take his squad to Belgium ahead of Monday's clash in confident mood of another positive result to stay on course for a shot at the finals in Israel.

Before kick-off, there was a poignant minute's silence ahead of Remembrance Day on Sunday after the teams walked out through a guard of honour made from soldiers of the local garrison.

England, sporting poppies on their black armbands, started brightly as Nathan Delfouneso quickly hustled the Iceland defence. However, the Villa forward lasted only 14 minutes before a minor hamstring twinge saw a precautionary change, as he was replaced by Sammy Ameobi, the Newcastle youngster making his under-21 debut.

Sordell then forced a good save from Iceland goalkeeper Arnar Petursson down smartly at his near post, after being played into the left side of the penalty area by Jordan Henderson.

Arsenal forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - who scored a hat-trick against Iceland in Reykjavik - showed good close control to create an opening down the right channel. But having drawn the keeper at the near post, he could only put the ball across the face of an open goal.

Iceland looked dangerous from set-plays, with Eidur Aron Sigurbjornsson glancing a header wide at a corner.

Oxlade-Chamberlain and Henderson combined to open up the visitors again in the 33rd minute to release Josh McEachran. The Chelsea youngster whipped a low centre through the six-yard box which Sigurbjornsson almost put into his own net.

England, though, had the lead five minutes before half-time when the all-action Henderson broke into the right side of the penalty area and pulled the ball back across goal, where Sordell smashed it into the bottom corner.

The hosts continued to press in the second half. It was 2-0 on 57 minutes when Kelly, who had stayed upfield from a free-kick, was found in the right side of the Iceland box and the Reds defender dispatched a cool finish into the far corner.

Manchester United youngster Will Keane, 18, made his under-21s debut when he replaced McEachran for the closing stages. Oxlade-Chamberlain was twice denied by Petursson, before Dawson looped in a header from a corner with four minutes left.

There was still time for midfielder Gardner, on as a substitute, to curl in a 20-yard free-kick and then promptly drill home a low second goal after good work from Oxlade-Chamberlain to cap what was another encouraging performance from England's next generation.


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