England U-21 1-0 Norway U-21

Connor Wickham
Connor Wickham scored for England

Connor Wickham's first-half goal ensured England won their European Under-21 Championship qualifying group.

The Sunderland striker took advantage of a Norwegian defensive slip to score two minutes before half-time.

Victory at Chesterfield means England will be seeded in Friday's play-off draw as they bid to reach next summer's finals, which will be staged in Israel.

But Norway, who have also made the play-offs, were unlucky not to equalise when Havard Nielsen hit the bar.

England edged the opening 45 minutes, with Norway keeper Arild Ostbo pushing away an early Martyn Waghorn shot and Tom Ince clipping an effort wide.

Wickham cut in from the right to tuck in his first England Under-21 goal just before the break.

But Norway substitute Yann-Erik de Lanlay fired just wide on the hour mark before Nielsen hit the bar and Harmeet Singh saw a 25-yard shot grabbed by England keeper Jason Steele.

The 10 group winners - including England - and the four best runners-up will play two-legged ties in October for seven places at next June's finals alongside hosts Israel.

"To win seven out of eight games in this group at international football isn't easy," said England boss Stuart Pearce.

"We're pleased with that and pleased to have topped the group but we know full well that we're going to have to play better next month if we are going to be successful and get to the finals."

He added: "I think Norway came out of the traps fantastically well, they're a tough side and I think they'll cause anyone a problem in the play-offs.

"It wasn't a convincing performance by us but I felt we improved a bit at the start of the second half."