Shoot out joy for Young Lions
Thursday, 30 June, 2011
Victory over Argentina sets up World Cup Quarter Final tie with Germany.
By James Marshall in Pachuca
England sealed their place in the World Cup Quarter Final on Thursday evening, knocking out Argentina after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out in a rain drenched Mexico.
John Peacock's side had undoubtely been the better side over the 90 minutes, but despite enjoying the lion's share of possession and dominating in terms of chances created and attacking threat, the game finished level at 1-1. However, the conditions meant it wasn't quite as simple as it might have sounded and both sides struggled on a heavy pitch as the game wore on.
The squad's character shone through though, as they won by 4-3 on penalties to clinch a game with Germany early next week with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saving two of the Argentine spot-kicks and seeing Sam Magri, Adam Morgan, Jake Caskey and Nat Chalobah score.
Looking back though, it was astonishing how the game went ahead after torrential rain in the Pachuca area saw most roads around the stadium completely flooded due to a tropical storm that hit Mexico’s east coast overnight.
However, even the contrasting weather conditions from England’s last game against Uruguay in Torreon didn’t hamper the Young Lions' lively start to the match.
Raheem Sterling hit a shot just wide in the opening minutes, but it was striker Hallam Hope who had the best chance in the first five minutes. Blair Turgott charged through the Argentina defence down the left side, and put in a wonderful cross which Hope met with a knee to glance the ball agonisingly over the bar.
England then had another chance to take the lead through captain Chalobah, his shot stinging the hands of goalkeeper Bruno Galvan in the Argentina goal but England just couldn’t find a deserved breakthrough early on.
Typically, it was Argentina who opened the scoring completely against the run of play as Marcos Pinto’s free-kick skidded up against the surface and Pickford was unable to hold the ball in the wet conditions to allow Maximiliano Padilla a chance to tap the ball home from close range.
England were unlucky to concede but kept up their enthusiastic start to the game by constantly pressing Argentina back into their own half. After a couple of half chances for Nick Powell, it was Liverpool’s Sterling who drew his side level just before the break.
The tricky winger skipped past his marker Beloso on the left side and hit a low shot from 20 yards out. It skidded off the turf and everyone missed it, including the goalkeeper, before it nestled in the bottom corner. It was thoroughly deserved for England and the persistent Sterling, who grabbed his second goal of the tournament.
As conditions got progressively worse after the break, it was the Argentineans who made the brighter start to the second-half and Pickford was forced to make a fine save from danger man Lucas Ocampos as the midfielder's low shot caused him difficulty.
Pickford had to be alert again as Ocampos broke through on goal just after the hour mark, but the Sunderland stopper did well to collect the ball off his line.
Peacock’s youngsters were then unlucky not to get a penalty, as Chalobah expertly turned in the penalty box and was seemingly upended by an obstruction but unfortunately for England, the referee waved play on as they looked for the elusive goal that would take them through to the quarter-finals.
The heavy pitch and conditions in Pachuca started to affect play badly, with both teams struggling to string much football together. With puddles appearing all over the pitch, both teams had to concentrate as mistakes started to happen all over the pitch.
Peacock made further changes to his attack with Nathan Redmond and Morgan introduced to replace Turgott and Sterling and it was the Liverpool man Morgan who nearly made the decisive breakthrough, striking the side netting with a fierce left-footer from the angle.
As the game neared full-time, Argentina were then reduced to ten men when defender Marcos Pinto was dismissed late on for a second bookable offence as he lunged at Redmond.
In stoppage time, England had one more chance to win the match with Morgan doing well down the left hand side, before cutting the ball back to Max Clayton who couldn’t get enough power on the shot to force it past goalkeeper Galvan.
And so it went to penalties, which progressed as follows:-
Sam Magri - scored
Lucas Ocampos - scored
Adam Morgan - scored
Lucas Pugh - scored
Max Clayton - missed
Gaspar Iniguez - saved
Jake Caskey - scored
Agustin Allione - saved
Nathaniel Chalobah - scored