England U-21s 1-1 Spain U-21s

Spain U21 1 - 1 England U21

Ryan Bertrand (left) of England challenges Martin Montoya of Spain
England struggled to retain possession throughout the game

Danny Welbeck salvaged a draw for England with a cool late finish in their European Under-21 Championship opener against Spain in Denmark.

Welbeck swivelled beautifully and side-footed past keeper David de Gea to thwart a Spain team which had outplayed Stuart Pearce's side for long periods.

There was a hint of offside, but Spain's goal was also controversial.

Ander Herrera finished at close range from Javi Martinez's header, but there was a suggestion that he used his hand.

In truth, however, Pearce will be relieved to have earned a point against a Spain team who look perfectly capable of reaching the level of their senior counterparts, the current European champions and World Cup holders.

Spain dominated possession for long periods and England's Frank Fielding was clearly the busier goalkeeper.

Nevertheless, they paid for the lack of a killer instinct and Pearce will be pleased with the way his side soaked up the pressure and struck back at the end.

Under the watchful eye of senior team manager Fabio Capello, Pearce left Jack Rodwell and Fabrice Muamba out of the starting line up as he opted to play captain Michael Mancienne as a holding midfielder, with Tom Cleverley, Welbeck and Danny Rose supporting lone striker Daniel Sturridge.

The selection did not appear immediately successful as Spain established their passing game early and left England chasing shadows.

And their 14th-minute opener was deserved on the balance of play - if arguably not in terms of the manner of the finish - as captain Martinez powered a header goalward, which Herrera put in.

Replays were not conclusive, but it certainly appeared the Spanish player had used his hand.

England were second best for most of the half, although they finished strongly and Rose's cross just eluded Sturridge, who also saw a flicked shot deflected wide.

Herrera almost doubled Spain's lead in the 58th minute when his drive took a wicked deflection off Chris Smalling, bringing out an outstanding save from Fielding.

But Spain's inability to find a second goal proved costly in the 88th minute when the lively Kyle Walker fed Welbeck who showed tremendous cool to equalise

The Manchester United man looked narrowly offside, but his finish ensured England made a solid start with group matches against the Czech Republic and Ukraine to come.