England U17s secure a point against the Netherlands in Germany.
Luke Garbutt 70
Oguzhan Ozyakup 3
UEFA European U17 Championship
10am (GMT), Wednesday 6 May 2009
Stadion der Freundschaft, Gera
England recovered from an early set-back to earn a point against the Netherlands in their opening match of the UEFA European U17 Championship, although it evolved into a match that England could easily have won.
Netherlands captain, Oguzhan Ozyakup, gave the Dutch a third-minute lead, calmly converting a Shabir Isoufi cross, but England equalised through Luke Garbutt on 70 minutes. It was just one of a number of chances fashioned by John Peacock’s young side and they will feel unlucky not to have left Gera with all three points.
Everton’s Jose Baxter had the first meaningful chance of the match, flashing a left-foot shot wide of the post, but less than a minute later England found themselves a goal down. Good work from Isoufi on the left flank allowed him to centre for the onrushing Dutch skipper who calmly side-footed the Netherlands into the lead after just three minutes.
Jed Steer had a moment of panic in the England goal, when his parry almost allowed Jerry van Ewijk to double the Netherlands' advantage minutes later. However, the Norwich stopper recovered well to gather.
Peacock’s side soon regained composure and began to play the ball from the back but were initially unable to find that telling final ball.
The next opportunity again fell to the Dutch who attacked with greater purpose at the beginning of the first period. A right-to-left cross-field ball from van Ewijk found Osama Rashid in space on the touchline. A delicious cross to the far post was met by Luc Castaignos but his header was just too high.
England’s two brightest moments of the first half were provided by Jack Wilshere who, firstly, embarked on a mazy dribble into the Dutch box after 20 minutes. He evaded the challenges of three Dutch defenders, feigned to centre for Luke Freeman, before advancing to the by-line to better position himself for the cross. Unfortunately for him, Gerrit Jan ter Mate was equal to it in the Holland goal.
Just before half-time, John Bostock was felled 20 yards from goal and Wilshere curled a delightful left-foot free-kick over the wall, leaving the Dutch ‘keeper rooted to the spot. Wilshere could only watch on though as the ball thumped the angle of post and bar.
The Young Lions grew in confidence as the half progressed and they created two terrific chances just after the half-hour mark. Linking up with Wilshere and Freeman on the edge of the Netherlands' penalty area, Bostock unleashed a fizzing left-foot drive which flew narrowly wide. Minutes later, Wilshere followed suit, from an almost identical position, but his drive was repelled by Jan ter Mate.
Peacock will not have wanted to hear the half-time whistle with his side clearly in the ascendancy. Some terrific close control from Bostock by the corner flag allowed him to get a cross in and Dico Koppers' headed clearance only fell to Wilshere on the edge of the box. He laid the ball off for Baxter but his angled drive was saved by the legs of Jan ter Mate.
Though they went in at the break one goal behind, England knew they were still very much in this match.
In the second period, Jan ter Mate proved to be England’s nemesis once more as he parried Wilshere’s long-range drive. After a slow start to the second half, this save proved the catalyst for another bout of England pressure which continued for the remainder of the match.
On 57 minutes Freeman battled gamely with Ruben Ewald Ligeon, dispossessing the Dutch right-back before threading the ball towards Lateef Elford-Alliyu, but he couldn’t quite manoeuvre himself correctly to direct the ball home. It was to be the West Brom forward’s last contribution to the match before being replaced by Charlton’s Jonjo Shelvey, as Peacock shuffled his pack in search of the equalising goal that England had been promising. Shelvey tucked into midfield, with Baxter joining Freeman upfront.
It was to prove an inspired move, as Baxter fashioned the equalising goal for Garbutt with just ten minutes to play. The Netherlands' midfield had been dragged out to their left, leaving an acre of space for England’s left-back to advance into. Baxter’s ball was perfect and Garbutt drilled a low, curling drive into the far corner. It was no more than they deserved, after controlling possession for large spells of the match.
Long range efforts from Baxter, Gardner and Shelvey soon after indicated the Young Lions’ belief that this game was there for the taking. Shelvey also had a free-kick spilled by the Dutch ‘keeper, but England were unable to capitalise.
It spoke volumes of the character and ability of Peacock’s charges that Steer was untroubled throughout the whole of the second period.
Baxter and substitute Benik Afobe each had late appeals for a penalty dismissed by Georgios Daloukas when, first Baxter and then Afobe, appeared to have their shirts pulled inside the box.
England continued to search for the winner, but it was not to be. Next up for England is the host nation, Germany, on 9 May. This match will be broadcast live on Eurosport.
1 Jed Steer, 2 James Hurst, 3 Luke Garbutt, 4 Gary Gardner, 6 Tom Parkes, 8 John Bostock (C) (14 Ryan Tunnicliffe, 68), 9 Jose Baxter, 10 Jack Wilshere, 12 Luke Freeman (11 Benik Afobe, 76), 15 Eddie Oshodi, 16 Lateef Elford-Alliyu (7 Jonjo Shelvey, 58)
Substitutes not used
5 Louis Laing, 13 Sam Johnstone, 17 Jacob Walcott, 18 Sam Habergham
1 Gerrit Jan ter Mate, 2 Ruben Ewald Ligeon, 3 Stefan De Vrij, 4 Dico Koppers, 6 Jerry van Ewijk (12 Joel Ivo Veltman, 41), 7 Shabir Isoufi, 8 Osama Rashid, 9 Luc Castaignos, 10 Oguzhan Ozyakup, 11 Nygel Velder (18 Ryan Bouwmeester,80), 17 Martinus Franciscus Van Huijgevoort
Substitutes not used
5 Martijn de Vries, 13 Rangelo Janga, 14 Mohamed Madmar, 15 Bob Schepers, 16 Warner Hahn
Referee Georgios Daloukas (Greece)
Assistant Referees Michael Soteriou (Cyprus) & Jaroslav Dudl (Czech Republic)
Fourth Official Gerhard Grobelnik (Austria)