Goalkeeper Eric Pudaloff and Shane Gill bring you the latest from the camp in Kuala Lumpur.
Whilst the England Futsal squad are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the KL World 5's Futsal competition, we will be hearing from several players throughout the week as they bring you their exclusive thoughts on all manner of things from training, games and the hectic schedule in place. Goalkeeper Eric Pudaloff and squad newcomer Shane Gill bring you the latest this time, looking back on the game with Argentina.
As the sun rises and a new day begins in Kuala Lumpur, there was no rest for the wicked as we were all sent for weigh-ins and urine testing to determine our hydration levels.
Captain Richard Follett led by example with the best score determining the hydration levels of each player. There were a few poor results, most likely down to the humid conditions and change in body clocks, but under the expert guidance of Dawn Scott they were quick to re-hydrate by replenishing with fluids
Around the breakfast table, there was a buzz of anticipation amongst the team with sights set on the afternoon’s game. Signs of nervousness were being displayed throughout the team due to the difference in world rankings between us and Argentina, this was mostly seen in Alex Sykes as he was contemplating whether to have that fourth chocolate croissant (He opted for some melon instead). The selection of the right foods was important as to not hinder playing performance, so we were advised to avoid red meat and pastries as these are difficult to digest and utilise the energy content.
Head Coach Graeme Dell led a psychology orientated session that focused upon mental preparation for different scenarios within games. Players had to devise strategies for situations such as being 2-1 up at half-time or drawing 0-0 with 10 minutes to go or 7-0 down. This was a productive meeting and seemed to have equipped players with an improved degree of mental confidence for the up and coming challenges.
Everyone got the kit together and met for the coach journey to the ground where we managed to arrive early and catch some of the Brazil v China game. Brazil dominated the game and were very impressive and it was a great opportunity to see Falcao, probably the best player in the world, showing some of his dazzling ability.
The pre-match team talk involved goal setting and referred back to the mental preparation that was done earlier in the day in the psychology session. Graeme’s objectives were to prevent the Argentinians from beating us by more than 15 goals! Which might seem high to uneducated Futsal fans but in the Argentinian’s press conference they predicted a 16-0 win so maybe our won Head Coach wasn’t wide of the mark!
Waiting in the tunnel for the television executive to give us the nod to walk out onto the pitch was longer than we had expected and with the fourth best international Futsal team in the world alongside you it felt great. It was the international debuts for both Shane Gill and Leigh Holbrook but like the entire team, we belted out the national anthem with pride and passion.
Coming in at half time at 8-1 down was in fact a fair reflection as we never really got out of the blocks and stage-fright had probably taken a few heads with it, but we were on course for keeping the score to less than a 15 goal difference.
Delly’s half time team talk expressed where we needed to improve areas of the game to reduce the amount of attacks on goal for the Argentinians and his experience and knowledge was expressed in the style he does so well, leaving us in no doubt as to what he wanted and expected.
Things improved in the second half with the team becoming more stabilised as we pressurised the opposition high up the field and reduced the amount of time they had on the ball as they seemed to capitalise from long periods of possession. Although we conceded a further four goals and the final score being 12-1, we were disappointed to lose but were relieved to have put in a reasonable performance which gives us hope for the rest of the tournament.
Post match we got back to the hotel and went to the pool for a light aqua recovery session, followed by the customary ice baths to aid muscle recovery and prepare us for the next test against Indonesia.
Following dinner, we were given the option to relax in our rooms or go for a short walk around the local area, although a couple of players opted to write this report and discovered a secret card school where sugar cubes were the only currency allowed.
Eric and Shane