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England and Netherlands out to make amends

Published: Monday 27 February 2012, 11.38CET
There are scores to settle when Under-21 qualifying resumes on Wednesday as England host Belgium, Scotland chase a double over the Netherlands and Greece travel to Germany.
England and Netherlands out to make amends
Defender Craig Dawson has hit four goals in qualifying for England ©Getty Images
 

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Published: Monday 27 February 2012, 11.38CET

England and Netherlands out to make amends

There are scores to settle when Under-21 qualifying resumes on Wednesday as England host Belgium, Scotland chase a double over the Netherlands and Greece travel to Germany.

The race to reach the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship resumes on Wednesday with an England side seeking revenge against Belgium, Scotland aiming to do the double over the Netherlands and Greece facing a tough trip to Germany.

Group 8 leaders England welcome second-placed Belgium with four points separating the two teams. Francky Dury's Belgium ran out 2-1 winners when they hosted England in November, inflicting the first defeat of the campaign on Stuart Pearce's men.

This time, however, both sides have unfamiliar faces in the dugout. Brian Eastick steps in for Pearce, who took temporary charge of the England senior squad following Fabio Capello's resignation. Meanwhile, Dury's December departure for SV Zulte Waregem means Belgium are also led by an interim boss, with Jean François Rémy assuming the reins until Johan Walem takes over on 1 July.

If Rémy can complete a Belgian double over England then it will be all to play for in Group 8, as both sides take on Norway – who are third, a point behind Belgium with a game in hand on the front two – in September. England will be relying on the likes of in-form Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and surprise top scorer Craig Dawson to pull them seven points clear.

Group 10 is tighter still, the Netherlands heading the pack by one point from chasing Scotland and Bulgaria. The Jong Oranje and Billy Stark's boys lock horns this week as each attempts to take advantage of their match in hand over the eastern European nation.

Hosts Scotland will bid to go top of the pool after picking up a 2-1 win when the countries met in the reverse fixture in November – a result that ended the Netherlands' perfect start to the campaign – and will look to six-goal striker Jordan Rhodes to make the difference once again.

Elsewhere, Greece travel to Germany in Group 1, targeting the victory that would lift them into second spot, and two points clear of both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Belarus, who play one other in their next match on 1 June.

Sporting a perfect seven-win record, Germany are a daunting prospect though, having struck 31 goals and conceded just five. Nonetheless, Greece can take heart from having scored four of those five goals. Even then, Rainer Adrion's charges came out on top in that reverse fixture last November, Peniel Mlapa sealing his hat-trick deep into added time to earn a dramatic 5-4 German success.

Meanwhile, Wales entertain point-less Andorra as they seek to climb second in a close Group 3, while the bottom two teams in Groups 1 and 8 come together as Cyprus visit San Marino and Azerbaijan receive Iceland.

Last updated: 27/02/12 17.28CET

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