England's first World Cup Qualifier ended with defeat at the hands of Poland in Hungary.
Poland 10-2 England
2008 FIFA Futsal World Cup Qualification Round
England were beaten 10-2 on Thursday night in the impressive Gyongyosi Sportstadium, located 100 kilometres north of Budapest, by the Futsal professionals of Poland.
A not-so-uncommon scoreline which typifies the differential in experience and abilities between emerging and developed Futsal nations will be of no comfort to Head Coach Graeme Dell, as he once more witnessed his team make basic football errors as opposed to Futsal mistakes. He will however be encouraged by some sustained periods of play and yet another game where England have proven they can score goals.
England ended the first half 6-2 down, after a mad spell where they conceded four goals in as many minutes, with England’s reply coming from a ten metre penalty in from Alex Sykes after Poland’s sixth accumulated foul, along with a sound effort from Worcester City’s Nick Colley.
As has become a common story for England in recent games, slow first half starts as the players transfer their mental awareness from football to Futsal resulted in too much damage being done in the early stages. The lack of Futsal exposure in England, which should be addressed by the new Regional Futsal Leagues, is a factor and one which Dell must be hoping will deliver better-equipped players for his national team.
However, Dell’s half-time instructions to his young Lions once more paid dividends, as they applied what they should have done in the first half and sustained a period of over 12 minutes without conceding further, only to be undone by a wickedly deflected shot.
As Poland’s more experienced players, all drawn from their successful professional Futsal leagues, struggled to make further headway, England’s basic passing and mobility errors allowed Poland the openings they needed to further extend an already comfortable lead.
An upbeat but obviously disappointed Dell told The FA.com: “Happy isn’t a word I would use to describe tonight’s performance, but there were pleasing spells and some players have shown they deserve more of a chance.
“It’s very tough for our lads to come and play against these teams made up of professional Futsal players, but tonight it’s the technical football errors which have allowed what on paper is a massive scoreline deflect from some otherwise comparable periods of play which we should be happy with.”
Next up for England will be the vast experience of hosts Hungary in Friday night’s encounter, with Mihaly Kozma’s professionals beating Macedonia 3-0 in tonight’s other Group 4 match.