Hall helps England into final

Robert Hall has helped England to reach the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final courtesy of a 2-1 semi-final victory over France.

Hall, who is now unbeaten in an incredible 15 matches at U17 level, was named among the substitutes in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, only to be called on after just 16 minutes when Manchester United's William Keane was forced off with an injury.

Seven minutes later, Ipswich Town forward Connor Wickham put England ahead with a smart finish which no doubt impressed the watching Sir Trevor Brooking.


Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland made a fine save to deny AJ Auxerre striker Yaya Sanogo before Wickham latched on to a through ball from Liverpool's Conor Coady and slotted the ball into the net a minute before half-time.

Shortly after the interval, Hall made a dramatic goal-line clearance to deny Sanogo after Butland had been harshly adjudged to have held on to the ball for too long.

Robert Hall

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley came close to netting a third goal for the Young Lions, rampaging forward before unleashing a rising 25-yard drive that Paris St. Germain stopper Alphonse Areola did well to claw around the post.

Moments later, France had halved their deficit through Manchester United midfield player Paul Pogba, who rose highest to head the ball over Butland's outstretched left hand.

While France continued to hold the upper hand in the closing stages, John Peacock's youngsters were able to stand firm and reach the final for just the second time in the competition's 28-year history.

England, with West Ham's Jordan Spence in their starting lineup, finished as runners-up to Spain in 2007. The Spanish could provide the opposition again this time round should they overcome Turkey in the second semi-final on Thursday evening.

The final will be played at the Rheinpark stadium in Vaduz on Sunday 30 May.