Spain and England ready to roll back years

Spain and England have waited 25 years to meet in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship – and Stuart Pearce's England would love a repeat of their 1984 final triumph when the Group B rivals face off in Gothenburg.

Bojan Krkić celebrates with the U17 trophy following his winner against England in 2007
Bojan Krkić celebrates with the U17 trophy following his winner against England in 2007 ©Sportsfile

Spain and England meet in their second Group B fixture in Gothenburg fully 25 years after the countries' only previous meetings in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship – when they contested that year's final.

• England would happily settle for a repeat of the outcome of the two-legged 1984 decider in which they ran out 3-0 aggregate winners.

• England go into the fixture occupying top spot in the section after beating Finland 2-1 in Halmstad on Monday, when the Spain-Germany game in Gothenburg finished goalless.

• Aside from his being the only team in the section with three points, England manager Stuart Pearce might also draw encouragement from the memory of his first match at the U21 helm, when his side fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Spain in February 2007.

• The results of their final showdown in 1984 were:
17.05.84 Spain 0-1 England, Seville
24.05.84 England 2-0 Spain, Sheffield

• Almost 30,000 fans were on hand at the Ramón-Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium in Seville on 17 May 1984 to see a Spain side including Emilio Butragueño, Manuel Sanchís and Andoni Zubizarreta contest their first final against the defending champions.

• After a scoreless first half England right-back Mel Sterland broke the deadlock three minutes after the restart and Dave Sexton's side took that lead back with them for the return at Bramall Lane a week later. There goals from Mark Hateley (49) and Howard Gayle (51) sealed England's second successive title.

• It was at Pride Park, Derby that the countries drew 2-2 on Pearce's debut as England U21 coach on 6 February 2007. In front of 28,295 spectators, Roberto Soldado (35) and José Manuel Jurado (45) put Spain 2-0 ahead but England hit back to draw thanks to goals from David Nugent (50) and Leroy Lita (79).

• The full lineups that evening were:
England: Scott Carson (Joe Hart 81), Justin Hoyte, Andrew Taylor (Liam Rosenior 59), Tom Huddlestone (Kieran Richardson 51), Steven Taylor, Curtis Davies, David Bentley, James Milner (Leroy Lita 59), David Nugent, Nigel Reo-Coker, Ashley Young (Theo Walcott 46).
Spain: Antonio Adán, Antonio Barragán, Miguel Torres (Ignacio Monreal 59), Sergio Sánchez, Marc Torrejón, Raúl García (Esteban Granero 75), Pedro León (Xisco 59), Miguel Pallardó, Roberto Soldado (Juan Mata 59), José Manuel Jurado, Alfaro (Mario Suárez 75).

• As a player with England, coach Pearce famously converted a penalty in the 4-2 shootout win against Spain after a goalless draw in the EURO '96™ quarter-final at Wembley. He earlier played in England's 1-0 friendly loss in Spain in September 1992.

• Spain coach Juan Ramón López Caro suffered at the hands of English opposition during his brief spell in charge of Real Madrid CF during the 2005/06 season, losing 1-0 on aggregate to Arsenal FC in the UEFA Champions League first knockout round.

• Spain striker Xisco plays his club football in England with Newcastle United FC. He made only five Premier League appearances in 2008/09 after joining from RC Deportivo La Coruña, scoring one goal.

• Bojan Krkić scored the only goal of the 2007 UEFA European Under-17 Championship final between the sides in Tournai, Belgium, with Danny Rose in the beaten England side.

• England midfielder Mark Noble has unhappy memories of facing Spain, having collected a red card in conceding the late penalty from which Cesc Fàbregas gave the Spanish a 2-1 win in the 2004 European U17 Championship semi-finals. Fraizer Campbell and Richard Stearman were also in the England side, with Antonio Adán, Diego Capel, Javi García, Esteban Granero, Jonathan Pereira and Mario Suárez involved for Spain.

• In May 2003 James Milner scored England's equaliser as they battled back from 2-0 down to hold a Spain side for whom Jurado was on target in a group-stage game at the U17 finals in Portugal. Martin Cranie and Andrew Taylor also played for England, with Adán, Sisi and Sergio Sánchez appearing for Spain and Roberto Jiménez an unused substitute.

Squad news

• England started with their favoured 4-3-3 formation against Finland, with Micah Richards partnering Michael Mancienne in central defence as Nedum Onuoha failed to overcome a groin injury.

• Mancienne was shown a straight red card for bringing down Berat Sadik in the incident which led to Finland's 33rd-minute equaliser and will serve a one-match suspension against Spain.

• Following the Chelsea FC player's dismissal, Pearce replaced Theo Walcott with Fraizer Campbell at half-time and reverted to a 4-3-2 with James Milner switched to right-back and Martin Cranie moved across to central defence. "It was a bold move to take a midfielder off and bring a striker on," said Pearce.

• While Mancienne is suspended, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Joe Hart and James Milner will all face a ban should they be booked against Spain having all collected yellow cards in Monday's match.

• Richards injured his thigh after heading what turned out to be the winning goal and was replaced in the 89th minute by James Tomkins. Tomkins, who made his competitive debut against Finland, could be handed his first start against Spain with Mancienne banned and doubts surrounding Richards and Manchester City FC team-mate Onuoha. Pearce confirmed that Milner also suffered "a slight thigh injury".

• Mark Noble, appointed captain by Pearce in the absence of the injured Steven Taylor, was voted man of the match by the UEFA Technical Study Group.

• England returned to their base in Varberg after the match, where they staged a recovery session for those who played against Finland on Tuesday morning. The rest of the squad, including the substitutes who were used late on, trained as usual at Tvååkers IF.

• Spain enjoyed a free afternoon on Tuesday having trained in two groups in the morning before sessions with the team physiotherapists and a massage.

• Spain coach López Caro has minor concerns surrounding the man of the match against Germany, Sergio Asenjo, and Diego Capel as he prepares his side to face England. Asenjo jarred his ankle in taking a last-minute goal kick and wore a supportive bandage in training, although he is expected to be fit for Thursday. Capel sprained his right ankle against Germany and sat out training on Tuesday, but is also likely to be available.

• Having been booked against Germany, Raúl García and Marc Torrejón will miss the next game should they collect a second yellow card of the finals against England.

• "We expect a very physical match, with plenty of long passes to their forwards," said Marc Torrejón of the England game. "We're quite strong in that kind of football, but we definitely have to improve on the counterattack. Against Finland, England won with one man less for almost an hour; they always have very strong players and are one of the favorites to win the trophy. It will be a very tough game, very physical, but we have lots of quality and skill that will help us to outplay their strength."