Winning breeds confidence
Tuesday, 25 May, 2010
Rob Hall happy with hard-fought victory over Turkey.
UEFA European U17 Championship
By Glenn Lavery in Liechtenstein
Rob Hall believes it is a good sign that England can grind out victories when not performing to their full potential.
On Monday evening the West Ham youngster scored his eighth goal for the U17s, tucking away a 62nd-minute penalty to give his side a 2-1 win over Turkey in the final group match of the UEFA European U17 Championship Finals.
This victory allowed the Young Lions to top Group B with a 100 per cent record and it sets up a semi-final against France on Thursday, but, after being outplayed for the first half-an-hour, and going behind to Okan Derıcı’s goal, Hall is the first to admit that England did not play to their fluid, penetrative best against Abdullah Ercan's side.
“I think we gave Turkey a bit more time on the ball than we wanted to, even though we did improve in the second half,” he said. “We know we didn’t play to our full potential but it was a good result in the end. We all worked hard for each other and we were happy that we got the result.
“We reacted well after we conceded and it was a great goal from Saido [Berahino, who equalised in the 35th minute]. That’s when we really thought that we could go and win,” continued Hall. “At half-time John [Peacock, the Head Coach] filled us with belief. He said to us that we had to move the ball quicker which I think we did.
“In the past we’ve gone ahead and then just killed teams off completely. These last two games we haven’t played particularly well but we’ve still got the result and I think it’s little results like that that give us that bit more confidence, because if things are going against us we know we’ve got that little bit of quality to turn it on.”
Hall gave England the lead just after the hour mark when Benik Afobe was brought down inside the area by Turkey goalkeeper Muhammed Uysal. The referee pointed to the spot and Hall seized the opportunity, although he says he had a lot to contend with before taking the kick.
“It was quite intimidating with the whole crowd booing and even the ‘keeper was shouting things at me, trying to put me off. The ref told me to replace the ball because it was slightly off the spot and that got the crowd even more agitated. But I was just thinking ‘what way am I going to go?’ I went to my right and the ‘keeper got a hand to it, but, luckily I got enough pace on it. The boys are saying it was jammy, but it went in and that’s all that matters.”
The match-winner had come off the bench in both of England’s first two group games. He was handed a starting berth by Peacock for the Turkey game and he said his performance last night had more to do with endeavour than the skill and ability on the ball he has previously demonstrated.
“I don’t think I got on the ball as much as I should have,” he admitted, “but it was one of those games where I just had to work hard, really. I could have done a bit better but I scored, we got the result, so now we’ve just got to move on.
“We’re delighted to be in the semis. We’ve obviously got France who are a very good team. It will be a tough game but we’re confident and we’ll just have to try our best and see how we get on.”