England were left to rue some missed chances as France scored an equaliser two minutes from time.
England 1-1 France UEFA U17 Elite Round Tournament
Tuesday 25 March 2008
Rishon Le Zion, Tel Aviv
England were just two minutes away from a crucial opening win in the Elite Round Tournament on Tuesday.
The young Lions looked set for a victory over France after Jack Rodwell's 58th minute goal but were left to rue a number of missed chances when Mfa Mezui scored courtesy of a wicked deflection.
"I'm philosophical," said U17 Head Coach John Peacock.
"It's the best this age group has played against France in three matches - we had some really good chances. We went 1-0 up and deserved our lead but unfortunately conceded a deflected goal two minutes from time."
Tottenham midfielder Dean Parrett squandered two openings, one a lob which drifted over the bar and another shot that went wide, while strikers Ryan Donaldson and Harry Forrester of Newcastle and Aston Villa respectively also went close.
"If we had taken our chances and made it 2-0 then that would have been three points," said Peacock. "But I'm pleased with the way the lads played and how they approached the game."
Although the draw meant England's run of six clean sheets came to an end, Peacock had nothing but praise for the defence.
"In terms of defence, their discipline was superb," he added. "All the lads have done well. We passed it well and we will look at it as one point gained. It's important not to lose your first game."
In the other game which took place today, hosts Israel beat Russia 3-1 to take an early lead in the group. England meet Russia on Thursday.
"This was always going to be a tough group," insisted the England Head Coach. "It will go down to the wire."England:
Wesley Foderingham (Fulham), Chris Solly (Charlton), Luke O'Neill (Leicester City), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Matthew Briggs (Fulham), Dean Parrett (Tottenham Hotspur), Matty James (Manchester United), Jordan Mutch (Birmingham City), Harry Forrester (Aston Villa, Jacob Mellis, Chelsea, 75 mins), Ryan Donaldson (Newcastle, Nathan Delfouneso, Aston Villa, 79 mins), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).Subs:
Declan Rudd (Norwich City), Kyle Bartley (Arsenal), Ben Gordon (Chelsea), John Bostock (Crystal Palace), Cameron Stewart (Manchester United).England Goals:
Rodwell 58France Goals: