Italy Under-21s equalise late against Norway, England lose again

JERUSALEM Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:34pm BST

Itay's Andrea Bertolacci (5th L) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Norway during their European Under-21 Championship soccer match against Norway at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Nir Elias

Itay's Andrea Bertolacci (5th L) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Norway during their European Under-21 Championship soccer match against Norway at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv June 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Nir Elias

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Italy equalised at the death against Norway in their final group match of the Euro Under-21 championships in Israel on Tuesday to finish ahead of their rivals, as England exited the competition with three defeats.

A goal by Italy midfielder Andrea Bertolacci of Genoa in the fourth minute of added time cancelled out a 90th minute penalty by Norway defender Stefan Strandberg to see the Italians finish top of the group with the Norwegians through as runners-up.

Both must await the outcome of Wednesday's Group B clash between defending champions Spain and the Netherlands, who have both already qualified, for the semi-final lineups to be known. Germany and Russia, the other two Group B teams, have been eliminated.

In Tuesday's second Group A match, one of the pre-tournament favourites England went home in humiliation after a 1-0 defeat by Israel to leave coach Stuart Pearce's job in real jeopardy.

Despite both teams already being out, over 22,000 spectators turned out in Jerusalem to watch the clash for third place in the group, the best-attended match in the tournament so far.

England were more dominant in the first half and had most of the chances throughout the match but were let down by some wayward finishing.

They were eventually punished when Ofir Krieff gave Israel the lead in the 80th minute with a powerful left-footed shot from 18 metres that beat England goalkeeper Jason Steele.

The Israelis, considered the weakest team in the tournament, celebrated wildly and tossed coach Guy Luzon into the air in an ecstatic farewell celebration. He will take the reins at Belgium's Standard Liege next season.

(Writing by Ori Lewis, editing by Mark Meadows)

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