German experience drives Pearce

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England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce will renew his rivalry with Germany tonight - with the ultimate aim of going one better than he did as a player and get to the final of a tournament.

Pearce's youngsters have already sealed a last-four place at their European Championships in Sweden but there is still plenty at stake at Halmstad's Orjans Vall as Germany need a result to get out of Group B. There is also the traditional intensity of a clash against Germany which Pearce experienced in 1990 and 1996 when he lost on penalties both times.

"It never mellows," Pearce said. "I think about those games because I draw experience from them."

He added: "I will think about them when we go into the game against Germany and I will think about it when we go into a semi-final on Friday.

"I think about it to learn lessons from it and pass those lessons on to these young players."

Pearce famously missed a penalty in Italy and scored one at Wembley. He feels his experiences can help the Under-21s, even his players are not interested in his own specific history.

"That is yesteryear," Pearce said. "They have no interest in that at all. They don't want to hear about my experiences as Stuart Pearce, they want nuggets of my experience to help them. When you are a manager you have to be totally self-less.

"The biggest thing in my life is the next week and a half. As an international I have been to three semi-finals in four tournaments. This is my fifth tournament and my fourth semi-final.

"It is vital for me and more importantly the team to find our what it is like to win.

"And that feeling, the feel-good factor, will let these players kick on so that in two years time, or whatever, they can continue to develop. That is what we will get judged on."

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Stuart Pearce

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