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Nedum Onuoha at the sweden Under 21s semi final
Season 2009/10

Forget the penalty pain, Nedum tells England

  • 25 June 2009 17:00
  • Posted byPeter Ferguson

Nedum Onuoha has urged his England Under-21 team-mates to forget about the pain of the past and focus instead on reaching the European Championship final in Sweden on Monday.

Stuart Pearce's Young Lions are now just 180 minutes from picking up England's first winner's medals since 1984 as they prepare to tackle host nation Sweden in Friday evening's semi-final in Gothenburg.

City defender Onuoha was a member of the Under-21 side that lost 13-12 in a nerve-jangling penalty shoot-out at the same stage two years ago, and this time around he is determined to go one better.

Nedum told TheFA.com: "What happened in 2007 is a totally separate event, a separate tournament. We are not thinking about the past now, we are looking towards the future.

"I think we have got more confident the longer the tournament has gone on. We are in a great position, and we can definitely win against Sweden but we must take one game at a time.

"We have been working very hard in training. We'll need to bring our A-game against Sweden because it is going to be tough. Their strike force is a big threat but their midfield works hard too, and they have a good team ethic."

Former Blues manager Pearce's men will face fierce home support against the Swedes in Gothenburg, but Onuoha is confident England have the temperament to counter the effect of the partisan crowd.

"The crowds have been very good," he added. "We have to focus on our game. It has not hindered us, we have really enjoyed it out here. In our first game against Finland it was like a Finnish stadium, so we are used to it."

City team-mates Joe Hart and Micah Richards are both in line for a recall after being rested for the last group game with Germany, who will dispute the other semi-final with Italy on Friday night.

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