Peter Sturgess takes England into Futsal Main Round for first time on Wednesday
UEFA Futsal Euro
27-30 March 2013
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Peter Sturgess takes England into new territory on Wednesday night as his Futsal squad feature in the Euro Main Round for the first time.
The Three Lions came through the First Qualifying Round in January and are now in Turkey preparing for their opening match against Ukraine.
With four teams battling for the one qualification spot, Sturgess knows it will be a real challenge for his players.
But Sturgess knows that whatever happens, it will be a great experience and learning curve for his squad as they take on Turkey, Slovenia and Ukraine.
He said: “The challenge in the three games will be to adapt quickly to whatever we encounter.
“When teams are full-time they are capable of so much more variety to all aspects of their 'game plan' and part of our development will be to react quickly when changes are made.
“This is a big ask but the squad are ready to be tested in this way as we know it can only accelerate our future progress.”
And England couldn’t have been given a tougher match to start with, as Ukraine are one of the top ranked nations in Europe and start as firm favourites to progress from this stage.
Sturgess knows it won’t be easy but says his players are anticipating the challenge ahead.
He added: “When the order of games was announced, it was exciting to find out that our first game would be against one of the best teams in the world, certainly in Europe.
“This kind of encounter can be quite daunting but I know the players will relish the challenge and use the game to settle into the tournament.
“There will be nerves and this is quite normal, even expected, as the players will want to do well.
“The trick is to use those nerves to produce the kind of performance the players and the support back home can be proud of.”
England have made real progress in the Futsal world under the stewardship Sturgess in recent years, highlighted by January’s historic achievement in the First Qualifying Round when the Lions overcame Lithuania and Georgia.
And the Head Coach is confident that the growth of the game in England can only be boosted further by the national team’s involvement at this level.
He explained: “I think the events in Lithuania in January will have major repercussions for the growth of Futsal in England.
“The historic qualification campaign will catapult the squad to the next level of competition and pit the team against some of the top teams in Europe.
"This can only be good for the game in this country and will hopefully encourage more players to play, more teams to compete and more coaches to engage with the game.”