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'Forget the past let's create our own history' Pearce aims to write a new chapter.

Byline: MIKE McGRATH

STUART PEARCE has told his England Under-21s that heroic failure counts for nothing - and they must create a new chapter of history when they face Germany in the European Championship final in Malmo tonight.

Pearce has been part of several near misses - losing as a player in semi-finals against Germany on penalties at Italia 90 and Euro 96 - and he is not satisfied by qualifying for this tournament, travelling to Sweden and reaching the final.

The fact the final is against old rivals Germany adds to the pressure, with Pearce willing to settle for nothing less than victory.

"Success is not coming away as a gallant loser," he said.

"We feel we have had no success yet.

The only way we will deem to have success is if we win.

"Whoever goes away without the trophy will not think they have had a good tournament." Seniors boss Fabio Capello has been credited with creating a winning mentality in the past 18 months, a change from years of underachievement since England defeated Germany at the 1966 World Cup.

England's finest hour came while wearing red shirts against Germany - but there will be no repeat of that this time around as Horst Hrubesch's side have chosen to wear red despite being the 'home' team.

In any case, Pearce wants his youngsters to forget about past encounters against Germany.

"Any matches in the past are in the past," he said..

"My only concern is the match. The only history we want to create is a victory for us. As for games gone by, they have no relevance." Pearce appeared intense and totally focused when he sat next to Hrubesch at Swedbank Stadion, barely cracking a smile as he answered questions on the final.

What will be the toughest part of the game? "Facing 11 German players," he said. It was confirmed that Joe Hart's appeal against suspension had failed, with the goalkeeper joining Gabriel Agbonlahor and Huddersfield-born Fraizer Campbell on the sidelines.

Agbonlahor and Campbell being banned means Theo Walcott is set to start as Pearce's central striker despite feeling cramp in his calves after 120 minutes against Sweden on Friday.

"All the players are 100%," Pearce said. "For any coach to come to a final and have everyone fit and on form, you can't ask for any more.

"Wherever they are asked to play, they will do with professionalism. We pick a team to win the match and want a big performance for everyone.

"Theo has blistering pace and he causes teams problems. Pace in the modern day is a great commodity and he has that in abundance." Capello wants to travel to the game to look at Walcott and other youngsters who could play a part in next year's World Cup.

"We have had lots of interest from Fabio and the staff," he said. "Everyone else connected with us is coming such as Ray Clemence and Trevor Brooking."

CAPTION(S):

NEW GENERATION: England's head coach Stuart Pearce wants his young side to put past meetings with Germany firmly out of their minds.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 29, 2009
Words:514
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