Filed: Saturday, 24th March 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel
Anton Ferdinand and Nigel Reo-Coker helped England under-21s gain a draw against Italy in this afternoon's friendly at Wembley.
The young Lions led twice before settling for a 3-3 draw in what was the first full match at the new national stadium.
60,000 people (or two-thirds of capacity) watched the under 21s - led by United skipper Reo-Coker - fall behind after just 29 seconds when the brilliant young Italian striker Gianpaolo Pazzini notched the first (competitive) goal at the new stadium.
Pazzini's strike was cancelled out by a stunning 30th minute free-kick from Blackburn's David Bentley, before Wayne Routledge put England ahead seven minutes into the second half.
The scores were levelled for a second time a minute later when Pazzini notched his second - although the young Lions were ahead again on 58 minutes through Blackburn forward Matt Derbyshire.
However Italy grabbed a share of the spoils when Pazzini completed his hat-trick on 68 minutes.
Both Reo-Coker and Ferdinand played a full 90 minutes.
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01:16PM 25th Mar 2007
''What a stadium!''
by Paul Wilson
11:52AM 25th Mar 2007
''Does anyone know why NRC does not sing the anthem? Are the words a bit tricky for him?''