The England U17’s Ladies team completed a very positive campaign in the Euro Cup in Molfetta, Italy following a set of excellent and promising results eventually achieving a sixth place finish.
This is the first time that this team was totally represented by the Youth Ladies Project, launched in Lisbon three years ago. Nine of the ten players had no England International experience and made their debuts in this tournament, eight of which are eligible to play again next year. The team was also the youngest in the competition which made their achievement more notable.
With the Youth Ladies Project now three years old there are several more girls showing good potential to support the squad in future years.
England 2 – 2 France
This was a very close and exciting encounter, with England making a slow start to the game showing our inexperience early on conceding two goals in the first half. Following clear instruction to pressure from the half way line, England dominated the possession in the second half taking the game to the French with many dangerous attacking moves. The pressure eventually paid off with two well deserved goals in the final four minutes to draw the game 2 – 2.
Amelia Courtenay-Barrow (2)
England 0 – 4 Portugal
A full strength Portugal side presented a tough challenge for England, although only one goal was conceded in the first fourteen minutes. The second coming with only ten seconds left of the first half. During this time, England admirably took the game to Portugal creating chances which saw the team hit the cross bar twice and the post once. The second half was much like the first, with England demonstrating a good solid defence and playing on the counter attack.
England 0 – 2 Sferic Terrasa (Spain)
The final group game saw England take on a very well organised Spanish team who played full rink pressure for the entire game. England showed excellent defensive understanding, creating a few chances of their own. The pressure eventually lead to a 2 – 0 win for the Spanish, but was very important in enabling England to finish with a favourable goal difference and finish third in the group.
5th – 8th Playoffs
England 3 – 1 Italy
England dominated this game throughout, creating all the chances from the majority of possession. We played with confidence and were able to close down most of the Italian threats, whilst creating numerous of our own. The result could have been greater, but guaranteed England’s best ever finish in qualifying for the 5th / 6th Playoff.
Lily Messenger (2)
Malak Nasir (1)
5th – 6th Playoffs
England 0 France 0 (England lost 1-0 on Direct Free Hits)
The final game of the competition saw England take on the French for a second time. This time we showed the good progress we had been making throughout the tournament, dominating the best of the possession and the chances in the final third. The final placing was decided on Direct Free Hits which England narrowly lost 1 – 0.
In summary England showed fantastic competitiveness throughout the week, against some of the best European U17’s girls. This has demonstrated that our Youth Ladies Project is progressing extremely well, with girls numbers increasing and the individual and team ability improving. More girls are now demonstrating a greater understanding and are showing great potential for the Project and England. This tournament has also resulted in very positive comments from other National Coaches.