John Peacock paid tribute to his heroic Lions after they reached the Final of the European Championships.
England 1-0 France
UEFA U17 Championship Finals
Thursday 10 May 2007
Tubize, Belgium An exhausted John Peacock saluted his heroic Lions after they bravely resisted the French to book a place in the European Championship Final.
Having taken the lead though Victor Moses, England dominated until a trio of injuries just after the restart resulted in a late French blitz. But the Lions refused to buckle and their reward is a Final against Spain on Sunday.
"I'm absolutely delighted to be in the Final," said an exhausted John Peacock after enduring a nerve-wracking last half an hour.
"The players deserve to be in the Final. There are some outstanding players in this side but their character shone through again. They work so hard for each other."
While the French had the better of the second period, England undoubtedly bossed the first half and were it not for some wayward shooting the game could have been sewn up at half-time.
"We were magnificent in the first half," said Peacock. "We controlled it and the only disappointing thing was that we could not score a second goal. At half-time there was very little I could say. I just said keep doing what you are doing."
England's place in the Final was jeopardised by three injuries at the start of the second half.
Tristain Plummer was substituted at half-time and Henri Lansbury was carried off after being struck in the face with the ball just moments after the restart. The signs looked ominous when Joseph Mattock then limped off moments later.
"We are all a bit battered and bruised," added Peacock. "The biggest concern was Henri. He went to hospital but he's OK. The injuries disrupted us and we were fortunate that they missed one or two chances."
A first major tournament win since 1993 awaits.England:
Steele, Ofori-Twumasi, Mattock (Hoyte 59), Pearce, Spence, Moses, Lansbury (Taiwo 52), Plummer (Franks 41), Woods, Rose, Murphy.Subs not used:
Welbeck, Smithies, Gosling, Porritt.