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England hold Romania to reach U21 finals

Romania 0-0 England (agg: 1-2)
Stuart Pearce's England team stood firm in Botosani to advance to their third successive UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals.

England players congregate to celebrate edging out Romania
England players congregate to celebrate edging out Romania ©Getty Images

England defeated Romania 2-1 on aggregate after a goalless second leg in Botosani to secure their place in next summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Denmark.

Chris Smalling's late winner in Friday's play-off first leg in Norwich ultimately proved the difference between the sides, as England goalkeeper Frank Fielding was equal to everything thrown at him at the Municipal Stadium – the clean sheet enough to send the 2009 runners-up through to a third successive U21 finals.

The home team created three chances in the first six minutes yet it was England who almost scored from their first when Daniel Sturridge elicited a diving save from Silviu Lung with a powerful shot from a narrowing angle.

The Chelsea FC striker then scuffed a clearer opportunity on the quarter-hour after bursting through two defenders, after which Romania once again assumed control with playmaking captain Gabriel Torje irrepressible in midfield.

The No10 forced Fielding into two goal-line stops late in the first half, the first being spilled to Ştefan Bărboianu whose lovely touch to Marius Alexe was blazed over from five metres.

Fielding nearly let a weak shot pass under him in the 69th minute but recovered in time to avert the danger. The keeper also dropped a long punt into a packed box but knew it was his day and England's when a flick on from a corner in the final move of the game whistled just wide.