Enough done without showing a full hand
22nd Jun 2009, 19:45
It was all change for England latest night, well almost all chance as Adam Johnson was the only player to start the win over Spain that also started against Germany in the final Group B encounter, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Qualification into the semi finals was already secured so Stuart Pearce made the most of this to save the first choice players from injuries and/or suspensions, which also allowed him the chance to take a look at the other players in his squad - and by the time this game had finished it had seen Pearce use all of his 23 man squad in the three group games.
It was a calculated risk, but this risk paid off, even though after only 4 minutes it looked like it would not as Gonzalo Castro took advantage of some poor defending to get in behind a fairly static England back four to score - at that point the German's were going to win Group B.
England got the equaliser that we deserved on 29 minutes when Everton's Jack Rodwell, who had a good game, headed home from a corner, which was nicely delivered by Villa's Craig Gardner who was captaining the Young Lions on the night and he also had a decent game to be honest. After this we were on cruise control really and looked the most likely to gain the win.
Martin Cranie, like all but Johnson as mentioned, sat out this game but is almost certain to return for the semi final on Friday - the opponents are not yet know.
A point apiece sees both through, but it is England that topped the Group and as such have the advantage of staying at their current base. Without having to overdo it, not showing the full hand to a side that needed something to qualify could prove a masterstroke if we can make it through our semi final and the Germans also make it through theirs, as in theory our players will be fresher and with the risk of suspensions being reduced they might not have that luxury?
Pearce was pleased with what he witnessed from his predominately second-string side but did not view it as a risk and feels that if that side needed more we would have got it, which has given him food for thought! Going all the way is something that he knows we can do, and thinks we can do this going one better than last time round.
Views his thoughts on this and more in this sky sports video...
PLAY UP POMPEY & THE YOUNG LIONS!