England earn place in play-offs

Wales 0-4 England Jonathan Stead set England on their way to victory in Wrexham and a place in the play-offs for next summer's finals.

England qualified for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-offs after disposing of Wales 4-0 at Wrexham FC's Racecourse Ground.

Stead strikes
It means that when England face Germany at the Bruchwegstadion in Mainz on Tuesday the two countries will be vying for first place in Group 6. Peter Taylor's side were given an early advantage by the strength and running power of Chelsea FC youngster Carlton Cole who sped away to lay on the first goal for Jonathan Stead in the fifth minute with a low cross.

Whittingham double
The second followed another dynamic Cole surge, this time down the right. After he had swung the ball over, Peter Whittingham dispatched a perfect volley into the corner of the net. The Aston Villa FC winger added his second of the game late on but the scoreline was harsh on an inexperienced Welsh side who gave as good as they got in the first half only to find themselves two goals adrift.

Shot denied
Wales, who did not have a single Premiership player in their ranks compared to eleven from England, had numerous attempts on goal before the interval and were cruelly denied when a snap-shot from Owain Tudur Jones appeared to cross the line after crashing down off the underside of the bar.

Dawson decisive
England improved in the second half and central defender Michael Dawson scored their third at the far post in the 68th minute after the Welsh defence had failed to cut out a high ball. England and Germany both have 17 points from seven games ahead of Tuesday's decider.