Wickham confirms play-off place for England

England 1-0 Norway
Needing a draw to reach the play-offs, Stuart Pearce's team took all three points courtesy of Connor Wickham's 43rd-minute strike.

Connor Wickham enjoys his first-half goal
Connor Wickham enjoys his first-half goal ©Getty Images

Connor Wickham scored the only goal as England defeated qualification rivals Norway to progress to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-offs as Group 8 winners.

Needing a draw to confirm their presence in Friday's draw for the next stage of the competition, Stuart Pearce's team emerged victorious courtesy of Wickham's 43rd-minute strike.

A first half which featured opportunities for England's Martyn Waghorn, whose shot was tipped over at full stretch by Arild Østbø, and Thomas Ince, either side of a couple of openings for Norway's lively midfielder Harmet Singh, ended with Sunderland AFC striker Wickham capitalising on a defensive mistake to slide the ball into the far corner.

Norway dominated the second period and ought to have been level midway through the half when Jo Inge Berget headed wastefully wide with only goalkeeper Jason Steele to beat. Four minutes later, wonderful interplay on the break between Yann-Erik de Lanlay and Omar Elabdellaoui ended in the latter's low cross finding Håvard Nielsen, whose first-time shot crashed off the underside of the crossbar.

With seconds remaining, Mushaga Bakenga shielded the ball in the penalty box and freed Nielsen, whose curling effort cleared the crossbar.