NEWPORT County AFC defenders Brandon Cooper and Aaron Lewis helped Wales Under-21s push Germany all the way in a tight 2-1 defeat to end their Euro 2021 qualification campaign.

Cooper, on loan at the Exiles from Swansea, started in defence while fellow loanee Lewis, who has joined from Lincoln City, came off the bench in the second half in Braunschweig.

Germany needed victory at the MDCC-Arena to deny Belgium - who beat them twice and would hold the advantage in a potential head-to-head tiebreaker - the opportunity of securing top spot in Group Nine.

Wales defeated Moldova 3-0 in Wrexham on Friday, but were already out of contention to qualify for next year's tournament in Hungary and Slovenia.

Lukas Nmecha had given Germany the lead through a penalty after 17 minutes following a foul by Harry Clifton on Bote Baku.

Within five minutes, Anderlecht's on-loan Manchester City forward soon had another chance to score from the spot when Wolfsburg midfielder Baku was taken out by a flying dive from Wales goalkeeper George Ratcliffe - but this time, Nmecha shot wide.

Mainz forward Jonathan Burkardt did make it 2-0 with a superb strike after 26 minutes when he turned quickly in the area before curling the ball into the far corner of the net.

Within eight minutes Wales halved the deficit when Cardiff frontman Mark Harris, who had a brief spell on loan in Newport in 2018/19, drilled the ball in from 20 yards after latching onto a knockdown from Luke Jephcott.

Paul Bodin's side continued to press for an equaliser following the restart and they almost had one when captain and former Exile Regan Poole stabbed the ball just wide from a corner.

Belgium's 3-2 defeat away to Bosnia and Herzegovina saw Germany finish five points clear to take the automatic promotion place, while Wales finished fourth.

It was a last national game at age-group level for Poole, Aaron Lewis and former Exile Mo Touray, who came off the bench late on after scoring against Moldova.