insists it's time for losers; FOOTBALL: England Under-21 boss is not in the mood for another gallant near-miss.
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 not confirmed until later that Joe Hart's appeal against suspension had failed, with the goalkeeper joining Gabriel Agbonlahor and 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 per cent," 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." Pearce added: "We have had lots of interest from Fabio and the staff - everyone else connected with us is coming such as Ray Clemence and Trevor Brooking.
"I hope Fabio has looked at a few players and one or two will join him on the plane to the World Cup."
SIDE BY SIDE... England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce with his German counterpart Horst Hrubesch
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|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Jun 29, 2009|
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