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Micah watches on

Micah watches on as his team draw

Tuesday June 23, 2009England U21s 1 - 1 Germany

By William Wood | In UEFA European Under-21 Championship

Micah was an unused substitute as England Under-21s held out for a 1-1 draw with rivals Germany Under-21s, securing their place at the top of the European Championships Group B.

Micah aggravated a knee injury in the 2-0 victory over Spain in the side’s previous match, a game that saw them seal their qualification for the semi-finals, and thus Stuart Pearce opted to move the 20-year old to the bench.

The change joined a host of other line-up switches by the former Manchester City manager, with only Middlesbrough’s Adam Johnson retaining his place in the starting-eleven.

The upheaval did little to upend the Three Lions’ early rhythm as the side looked to gain the advantage, but against the run of play Germany seized the lead with just five minutes on the clock.

Gonzalo Castro seized on some wayward positioning by Michael Mancienne to slot the ball home, while Mesut Ozil was allowed to drift towards goal and unleash a shot which required a solid stop from Scott Loach moments later.

However, England finally calmed their nerves with a fine passage of play, Johnson working an opening before the ball wound up with Craig Gardner, but the Aston Villa man was unable to direct his header away from the goalkeeper.

Pearce’s men were level soon after, however, after a fine ball in by Gardner caused mayhem in the Germany penalty area, and Jack Rodwell was on hand to nod the ball home from two yards in what was his first start for the England Under-21s.

The side could have grabbed the lead had Danny Rose opted to head, as opposed to handle, the ball home with nine minutes left of the half, while Rodwell drifted past several Germany players with ease before slicing his shot in an otherwise engaging spell of play.

England continued the second-half in much the same way as they ended the first, Rodwell demonstrating his steel in defence with a crunching tackle, though the defensive work of the players was at the detriment of their attacking prowess.

With Arsenal forward Theo Walcott added to proceedings, it appeared that Pearce’s side would look to counter, but instead the game lost its bite as the Three Lions contented themselves with a well-earned point to seal top-spot.

Richard Stearman did go close with a powerful drive following another corner but Manuel Neuer was on hand to deflect the shot from danger, and that was to be the final notable act of the match as both sides booked their place in the last four.

Pearce will have been pleased with his side’s efforts given the multitude changes made before kick-off, and Micah will now set his sights on returning to full fitness in time for the next stage