u20’s European Championships
Spain 12 – 1 England
(Half Time 4 – 1)
For our opening game England played against one of the favourites for the tournament. We started very nervously which cost us three goals in the first four minutes of the match.
At this moment I called a time out to settle the players down and instructed them that we will need to have more ball possession, 2 or 3 passes prior to attacking the goal.
After the time out the players followed my instructions and during the next 12 minutes we gained more ball possession as well as managing to keep a clean sheet . During this period we also forced Spain in to making a few mistakes, from one of which led to the penalty where we scored our goal.
In the first half, we showed signs of what we can achieve in the competition if we play the right way.
At the start of the second half, Spain again come out strongly and we failed to settle down quickly enough, conceding several early goals before once again reacting ourselves to bring our game up to speed.
Spain presented a very strong squad, with four players playing in the Spanish Premier League and were very solid both in attack and defence.
In this match, we have a played against one of the best Junior Teams in recent years and can take heart from the fact that for periods of the game we not only matched them, but took the game to Spain, as can be seen from the match statistics ,with 12 shots against 27 for Spain.
What we need to understand about this competition, is the fact that it is played at a very strong level, with players playing in their last year at this level and already playing in the top four Premier European Leagues.
This is a difficult age group for England as many of our players have college/work commitments, limiting the length of our preparation, compounded with the fact that we have a varied age group including one schoolboy. This makes England, one of youngest teams in the competition. Taking all this into account for us to compete for large periods of the game with such high quality teams is a great achievement.
With this game behind us our competitiveness will improve and grow game by game, as we will adapt to the level required for this competition.
Goal Scorer: Scott Neville (p)
Max Dunand (Captain) made the following comments:
“I don’t think the final score was a fair representation of how we played. There were periods where we matched Spain and forced them to make errors, however we started the competition nervously which is why it was good to play Spain as this gave us an introduction to the tournament and the rink.
We didn’t expect to be competing with Spain or Portugal for 1st or 2nd place, which is why I am glad we started the competition playing Spain.”
Rees Parfitt made the following comments:
“It seemed that in the first part of the first half, we struggled to adapt to the rink. This is shown in the fact that we didn’t play to our full potential, as we did in our warm up games against some Portuguese teams. This was reflected in the second part of the first half when we seemed to be more in control of the our game.
Not playing at this level regularly will require adjustment for us throughout this competition and I am confident that we will improve as the competition progresses.”