Danny Welbeck earned England a point against a highly-fancied Spain side in their opening game of this year’s European Under 21 Championship in Denmark.
Spain were undoubtedly the better side throughout the game but a cool finish by Welbeck and some busy goalkeeping by Frank Fielding was enough to secure a draw for Stuart Pearce’s men.
Both goals were controversial, Spain’s opener claimed to be handball and England’s equaliser debatably offside.
Stuart Pearce would have been very happy with the point as he has held the favourites and now has games against Ukraine and Czech Republic in order to secure qualification to the semi-finals.
Pearce decided to drop Jack Rodwell and Fabrice Muamba from the first eleven as he preferred captain Michael Mancienne as the holding midfielder with Tom Cleverley, Danny Rose and Danny Welbeck supporting lone-striker Daniel Sturridge.
Spain had a great deal of possession throughout the game and made a very bright start as they took the lead after 14 minutes. Javi Martinez powered a header goalwards and Ander Herrera was there to convert the opportunity.
Herrera came close to doubling the Spanish lead but was denied by an outstanding save from Fielding, following a deflection off Chris Smalling.
England’s equaliser came from some great work from Kyle Walker as he fed Welbeck who was able to swivel and side-foot past Manchester United target, David de Gea in the Spanish goal.
Elsewhere in England’s group, two classy goals from Borek Dockal secured a 2-1 for Czech Republic over Ukraine. Maxim Biliy came off the substitutes bench to grab a consolation for Ukraine but by then it was too late as the Czech Republic captain had scored twice just after half-time.
In Group A, the hosts Denmark were defeated by Switzerland thanks to a goal from 19-year-old senior international Xherdan Shaqiri.
Belarus scored two late goals to defeat Iceland. Andrei Vonkorov converted a penalty on 77 minutes before Maksim Shavysh came off the bench to score the winner 3 minutes from the end.
Next up for England is a tough game against Ukraine on Wednesday night whilst Spain play Czech Republic as both sides are looking to top the group.