Stuart Pearce admits England had little chance of a kind draw for next summer's European Under-21 Championship.

Pearce's Young Lions will learn their group stage opponents on Wednesday when the finals draw is made in Israel. England have qualified for their fourth successive tournament but Pearce acknowledged the calibre of opposition had never been tougher.

Head coach Pearce said: "This is our fourth draw and it is possibly the first time we have thought to ourselves that whoever we get is going to be really, really difficult to beat."

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