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Armenia Under-19s 1 England Under-19s 1

England’s bid to win the UEFA European Under-19 Championship for the first time suffered a setback when they were held at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

A semi-final spot may still be within the grasp of Martin Hunter’s young guns but they have made life a lot more difficult for themselves.

The England coach had predicted that his side’s fitness levels would improve after the 1-1 stalemate with France on Monday but this result proved his judgement was not spot on.

With France beating Norway 3-1, England know they must beat Norway on Saturday to qualify – and even that will probably give them the runners-up spot in the group.

After controlling the first half, Hunter’s side were left scratching their heads as to how they had not taken a lead into the half-time interval.

Dexter Blackstock and Mark Noble both had goals disallowed.

Grant Leadbitter then missed a penalty early in the second half before England finally got their reward with a goal from Southampton’s Matthew Mills.

However, Armenia had the final say, scoring a late equaliser which robbed the Three Lions of a victory.

Europe’s big guns have sent over scouts to the tournament hoping to sign the ‘next big thing’.

The Irish Football Association has confirmed that representatives from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and PSV Eindhoven, to name just a few, have requested tickets for the Under-19 matches.

European champions Liverpool have also sent their men to the province to view the next generation of superstars while other Premiership clubs such as Aston Villa, Bolton and Portsmouth are watching.

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