Noble off to finals

England have won through to the 2009 European Under-21 Championship after a 2-2 home draw against Wales secured a 5-4 aggregate success in their play-off.

The victory means Mark Noble is contemplating a second successive trip to the Euro finals after helping the Young Lions to the 2007 semi-finals. England have not lost in 90 minutes from 27 matches but they were pushed all the way at Villa Park by a Wales side featuring an impressive Jack Collison. However, they held firm after a 3-2 success in Cardiff and can look forward to the eight-nation tournament in Sweden next summer

Tom Huddlestone put the home side on their way with a free-kick before Aaron Ramsey's stunning goal levelled matters. Ramsey then set up Simon Church to put the visitors in front midway through the half before a Sam Vokes own goal ensured parity at the break. England's task was made more difficult in the second half with Huddlestone's late dismissal but, with Noble adopting more defensive duties, Stuart Pearce's men hung on.

Talking to Setanta Sports, Noble said: "[After the sending off] we had 25 minutes of sitting behind the ball but in spells we thought we were going to score again. As a team we do that so well. We are disappointed with the goals we have conceded in the last two legs. We can learn from that and hopefully take that learning curve into the Championship.

 "We got so close [in the 2007 finals] and were so disappointed. Hopefully the players we have got, we can really kick on. Some big teams have gone out and we think we have got a chance."

As well as England and hosts Sweden, the other teams through so far are Finland and Belarus with four other nations yet to be decided.