Final Euro qualifier ends in defeat for England in Turkey
Slovenia 5-2 England
UEFA Futsal Euro 2014
3pm, Friday 30 March 2013
Ice Arena, Turkey
England played their final game against already-qualified Slovenia on Saturday, as the UEFA Futsal Euro Main Round came to an end.
Slovenia have been impressive throughout the competition, but Pete Sturgesss team were buoyed by their recent performance against Turkey and took this belief into the game against the favourites.
England started in defiant mood with their opponents limited to few opportunities.
But after thirteen minutes Slovenia broke the deadlock with a decisive through ball leaving them one-on-one to slot the ball through the advancing Curtis Holmes.
This gave Slovenia the impetus and a second goal followed three minutes later following a save from Holmes, which was duly pounced on and dispatched with aplomb.
Like the earlier games, this did not deter England who responded immediately with a thunderbolt from captain Luke Ballinger leaving the 'keeper rooted to spot and the ball nestling in the roof of the net.
England then had further opportunities to draw level and were beginning to surprise their more experienced opponents with some incisive passing. The game continued in a similar fashion, with the score 2-1 going into half time.
The break served Slovenia well and they came quickly out of the blocks, forcing the impressive Holmes into some early saves, one of which was worthy of such a stage. England regrouped and began to gain the composure displayed in the first half.
A well-worked third goal for Slovenia followed after 26 minutes following a period of both teams sharing equal amounts of possession.
But as the half progresed, Slovenia began to impose themselves and scored two quick-fire goals to leave them leading 5-1 inbetween Ballinger hitting the Slovenian bar.
England then had a further spell of controlled possession, forcing several free kicks in and around the Slovenia box. This pressure and further good play from Sturgess' men forced a mistake with good work from Dave Jennings leading to an own goal from the Slovenians.
The Lions contined to press, resulting in Slovenia reaching five fouls but it was to no avail as the game finished 5-2.
However, England will take great heart from their performances over the week and know they are now capable of competing on Futsal's big stage.