Three Lions narrowly miss out on quarter final of World Championship.
By Matt Phillips
England narrowly missed out on a place in the Quarter Finals of the Cerebral Palsy World Cup in the Netherlands after losing a five goal thriller to Argentina on Thursday evening.
The 3-2 win secured Argentina’s place in the Cerebral Palsy football tournament at London 2012 while defeat isn’t the end of the road for England at the World Cup – Lyndon Lynch’s team now go through to a series of play-off games to determine their tournament place behind the top eight nations.
“It was a topsy-turvy game and there wasn’t much between the teams. The result could have gone either way to be honest,” said The FA’s Head of Disability Football, Jeff Davis.
“We’re disappointed we haven’t made the Quarter Finals of the World Cup as we really wanted to make the last eight. Our preparation for the tournament was excellent; we put the players in professional environments and trained at Spurs in the lead up to coming over here, so our organisation was second to none really.
“We now go through to play Japan in the first play-off on Sunday and we’ll be aiming to win that and progress through to secure that ninth place finish.”
After a tight start to the game, Argentina opened the scoring through Brian Vivot before Michael Barker hit a sensational strike from 20 yards to restore parity. It was Barker’s fourth goal in just two games having scored a hat-trick in the 12-0 rout of South Korea on Tuesday.
Vivot scored at the far post just before the break to make it 2-1 and Argentina extended their lead in the second period when Rodrigo Lugrin’s shot caught the heel of Matt Dimbylow and deflected past Jordan Raynes in the England goal.
Barker pulled one back for England from the penalty spot after Morena handled in the area to make it 3-2 and Argentina 'keeper Gustavo Nahuelquin was forced into some great saves before time ran down to secure the South American nation a place in both the World Cup Quarter Finals and London 2012.
Argentina will be joined by Ukraine, Russia, Iran, Brazil, Holland, USA and Great Britain at London 2012 and Davis confirmed that plans for the Paralympics are already underway: “We’re going to use the time in Holland wisely and hold double training sessions for England. It will give this group of players more time together in a tournament environment while Scotland have qualified for the Quarter Finals from their group so that’s brilliant news for Team GB and our London 2012 campaign.
“I’ll now sit down with Lyndon Lynch and we’ll draw up a list of players from the Home Nations who can join our Paralympic Simulation Camp in mid-August.”