England's dreams of reaching the European Championships are over after they lost 3-2 to Russia.
England 2-3 Russia UEFA U17 Elite Round Tournament
Thursday 27 March 2008
Rishon Le Zion, Tel Aviv
England's dreams of reaching the European Championships went up in smoke after they lost to Russia on Thursday.
The young Lions gave themselves a mountain to climb when Alexander Kolkorin and Alexander Stolyarenko netted before half-time. Manchester United's Matty James pulled one back on 45 minutes but Russia scored a third from Yuri Pugachev to all but end England's hopes.
Nathan Delfouneso, the Aston Villa striker, reduced the deficit with eight minutes remaining but Russia held on. With England having gleaned just one point from two games, it's impossible for them to progress as group winners.
"We're gone now," rued Head Coach John Peacock, who harboured ambitions of taking the U17s to consecutive European Championship Finals.
"We are out of it. It might have been different if we had got a point but it's not to be. This team has real potential so it's a shame they won't be going to the European Championships."
In an ironic twist, it was England's slackness in defence that caused their downfall. Prior to the tournament, Peacock's seemingly impregnable defence had kept six consecutive clean sheets, a run that was eventually ended by France on Tuesday and even that came from a wicked deflection.
Having dominated possession against Russia, England conceded three times to end their hopes of reaching May's Finals in Turkey.
"We gave away some poor goals," said Peacock. "The two we conceded before half-time cost us dear.
"We got back in the game but conceded another bad goal due to poor defending. That killed us."
While Peacock had gripes with the defence, he added that the rest of the side could have offered more when in possession.
"We had to have a bit more patience and class when we got the ball into the last third," he added. "We need to be more professional when we are playing sides like this."
England's final Elite Round qualifier is against Israel on Sunday.England:
Wesley Foderingham (Fulham), Ben Gordon (Chelsea), Matthew Briggs (Fulham), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Chris Solly (Charlton), Jacob Mellis (Chelsea, Harry Forrester, Aston Villa, 72 mins), Matty James (Manchester United), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), John Bostock (Crystal Palace, Dean Parrett, Tottenham Hotspur, 41 mins), Cameron Stewart (Manchester United, Ryan Donaldson, Newcastle, 41 mins), Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa).Subs:
Declan Rudd (Norwich City), Kyle Bartley (Arsenal), Luke O'Neill (Leicester City), Jordan Mutch (Birmingham City).England Goals:
James 45, Delfouneso 72Russia Goals:
Kolkorin 35, Stolyarenko 39, Pugachev 66