VIDEO: Silverware for England
Sunday, 29 August, 2010
Win over Portugal clinches tournament victory for U17s.
Click here to watch video highlights.
England were crowned winners of The FA International U17 tournament in style with a well-deserved 3-1 success over Portugal at Scunthorpe’s Glanford Park.
Two goals from Everton’s Hallam Hope and a third from Crewe's Nick Powell gave the Young Lions a convincing victory in difficult conditions - and ensured they ended the competition unbeaten.
Although Turkey beat Australia 30 miles down the road in Grimsby to finish level on points with England, John Peacock’s side’s superior goal difference saw them presented with the trophy by Sir Trevor Brooking and provided a reward for some stylish attacking football.
Knowing only a victory could guarantee them glory, the home side started well, moving the ball from left to right waiting patiently for an opening.
One nearly arrived as early as the fifth minute, but skipper Nat Chalobah couldn’t find room to shoot in the six yard box following Robbie Cotton’s deep cross from almost on the corner flag.
Blackburn midfielder Cotton tried to go from provider to scorer when he tested keeper Jose Costa with a deflected effort and Hope came close to getting on the end of Max Clayton’s pull-back, after the Crewe youngster had done well to stay on his feet when evading a challenge in the box.
England were dominating the first-half possession in tough conditions, with a swirling, blustery wind making long passing difficult.
But Portugal gave a reminder of their own ability when left-back Nuno Malheira went on a charging run from deep with 14 minutes gone, cutting in from the left to spark a good diving save from England stopper Jordan Pickford.
The breakthrough finally came seven minutes later, courtesy of Hope. Good work on the right flank by Powell – who had himself gone close moments earlier with a cross shot – saw him whip a teasing ball into the middle and the Everton front man used all his power to force home his second goal of the tournament from close range.
England’s second of the afternoon didn’t take long to follow. Within five minutes of going ahead, Hope had used the outside of his boot to lob Costa from inside the box, in a move started by Courtney Meppen Walters’ sublime ball out of defence.
Aside from a Alexandre Guedes shot, that he beat away at his near post, England keeper Pickford was a virtual spectator for the rest of the half.
Instead it was the Young Lions who ended the half again on the front foot, with Raheem Sterling’s neat foot work opening up a chance for Powell, but his header was held by Costa.
Any hopes Portugal had of getting something from the game rested on a good start to the second half. They had the perfect chance to register on the scoreseet within 60 seconds of the restart, but Sancidino Silva’s control was disappointing as he attempted to bring down Luis Cortez’s ball behind the England defence and Pickford raced off his line to gather possession.
It was to prove costly too, as clinical England made the result certain soon after. Powell had plenty of work to do when he picked up the ball on the left, but a mazy run took him into the box before he rifled a cracking right-foot shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
In the 50th minute, Joao Cancelo curled a free-kick around the England wall and into the far corner to get Portugal a reward for their effort, even if their football had largely lacked a few ideas.
Really though it was the home side who continued to look the most threatening – and twice in as many minutes they came agonisingly close to adding to furthering their lead.
Clayton was only just off target with a long range effort that flew inches over the bar. And then Hope came within inches of claiming his hat-trick, but was desperately unlucky to see a cheeky lob from the right hand corner of the penalty area bounce off the top of the bar.
Substitute Adam Morgan made a positive impression after coming off the bench with a string of jinking runs.
But the fact England were unable to add to their goal tally did not matter, with the hard work having already been done.
Pickford, Cousins, Magri (Regan 50), Meppen Walters (Hendrie 41 (Caskey 62)), Plummer, Clayton, Cotton, Chalobah, Powell (Henshall 50), Sterling, Hope (Morgan 65)
Subs not used Garrett, Fanimo.
Coach John Peacock
J Costa, Cancelo, Cardoso, Duque, Malheiro, Teixeira (Chaby 62), Cortez, Mota (L Silva 62), S Silva (Medeiros 67), Guedes (Pacienca 41), H Costa (Maciel 53)
Subs not used Pereira, Varela
Coach Emilio Peixe