England 0-1 Turkey
UEFA European U17 Championship
4.45pm (GMT), Tuesday 12 May 2009
A late winner from Furkan Seker denied England a place at the FIFA U17 World Cup as Turkey beat John Peacock’s young side 1-0 to steal third place in Group B of the UEFA European U17 Championship.
After 74 minutes Seker collected a loose ball inside the England area, evaded the lunge of Sam Johnstone and ended English hopes of a place in October’s World Cup in Nigeria.
England began the match with one eye still on the Semi-Final of the European Championship. In order to qualify for the last four they needed to register a comfortable victory over the Turks and hope Germany collected all three points against the Netherlands, but this defeat ultimately brings to a close England’s participation in the Euros and subsequently, the U17 World Cup.
Peacock was only able to name three substitutes after injuries to Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jack Wilshere and Jonjo Shelvey rendered the trio unavailable, while Jose Baxter was forced to sit the match out through suspension.
The first attack of the game brought about a presentable chance for Benik Afobe but the Arsenal man didn’t realise how much time he had and instead of controlling Louis Laing’s long ball down the centre, he opted for a header at goal, which Deniz Mehmet gratefully gathered.
Shortly after, another long ball from Laing, making his first start in this tournament, found Lateef Elford-Alliyu in space on the left. Assisted by the wind, his cross almost crept into the far corner, but Mehmet was again alert and tipped the ball to safety.
Knowing the necessary permutations England initially attacked at every opportunity, but the much-attempted ball forward from defence failed to glean much reward.
Turkey enjoyed a spell of possession midway through the first period but they too were bereft of creativity. A long range effort from Gokhan Tore, who plies his trade with Chelsea, was their first attempt at goal with the exception of a shot that struck the post moments after the Assistant Referee had raised his flag for offside. After 36 minutes Deniz Herber also thundered a shot from distance but Johnstone got down smartly to repel the effort.
A first half of minimal activity was brought to a close with news that Germany had taken the lead against the Netherlands to give the Young Lions further encouragement.
The Turkish skipper Muhammet Demir got the second period underway with an audacious overhead kick, but it lacked control and direction and flew high over Johnstone’s bar. Then, a cross-cum-shot from Jacob Walcott on 51 minutes could have troubled Mehmet but he held the ball well just under his crossbar.
Two chances in quick succession soon livened up the 3,000-strong crowd in the Volksparkstadion. A long ball from Ogulcan Gokce found its way to Demir, who proceeded to lift the ball over Johnstone from the edge of the area, but racing back towards his own goal, Laing hooked the ball off the line to maintain parity. The ball immediately found itself up-field with Afobe in the Turkish area, but his attempted lob failed to ask questions of Mehmet.
With Germany doubling their advantage in Jena, three second-half goals for England would have allowed them to prolong their participation in the Euros, awaiting the results of the UEFA Fair Play League, but Turkey continued to spray the ball around the England box, denying them the opportunity to generate a period of sustained pressure.
Afobe, who had looked lively throughout the match, had another opportunity to break the deadlock on 72 minutes, but his effort flashed wide. Two minutes later and England found themselves behind. With the game entering its final stages, Turkey made the most of a mini goalmouth scramble to defeat England and pip them to third place in Group B and a place at the U17 World Cup. England were unable to clear a Turkish cross from the right and Seker rounded Johnstone, guided the ball into the unguarded net and broke English hearts.
1 Sam Johnstone, 2 James Hurst, 4 Gary Gardner, 5 Louis Laing, 8 John Bostock (C), 11 Benik Afobe, 12 Luke Freeman, 15 Eddie Oshodi, 16 Lateef Elford-Alliyu, 17 Jacob Walcott, 18 Sam Habergham
Substitutes 1 Jed Steer, 3 Luke Garbutt, 6 Tom Parkes
Head Coach John Peacock
1 Deniz Mehmet, 2 Okan Alkan, 3 Nurettin Kayaoglu, 4 Ogulcan Gokce, 5 Furkan Seker, 6 Ohran Gulle, 8 Deniz Herber, 9 Muhammet Demir (C), 10 Gokhan Tore, 14 Engin Bekdemir, 16 Omer Ali Sahiner
Subsitutes 7 Berkin Kamil Arslan, 11 Hasan Ahmet Sari, 12 Sercan Hacioglu, 13 Baris Yardimci, 15 Sezer Ozmen, 17 Onur Karakabak, 18 Kamil Ahmet Corekci
Head Coach Abdullah Ercan
Referee Gerhard Grobelnik (Austria)
Assistant Referees Haralds Gudermanis (Latvia) & Erik Weiss (Slovakia)
Fourth Official Tom Harald Hagen (Norway)