Young Lions glide through
Saturday, 25 June, 2011
John Peacock's squad beat Uruguay to reach Second Round of the World Cup.
James Marshall in Torreon
England U17s put on a professional and convincing performance in Torreon to top Group C and progress to the Second Round of the FIFA U17 World Cup on Saturday afternoon.
It wasn't easy either, as the Young Lions had to cope with searing heat throughout the game, which kicked-off at 3pm local time in Mexico.
But goals from captain Nathaniel Chalobah and Max Clayton were enough to see England leap-frog their South American opponents in the group table to reach the next stage of the competition with aplomb.
Head Coach John Peacock made four changes to his side from that which drew 2-2 with Canada in midweek. In came Hallam Hope, Alex Henshall, Blair Turgott and Clayton to the starting line-up as he looked to fully utilise his squad.
The game started very slowly which wasn’t surprising considering the heat, as even the supporters stayed in the shade throughout. However, England started the much energetic team and produced some neat football in the opening 20 minutes.
Most of the half chances fell early on to Nick Powell, with the Crewe midfielder driving into the box but failing to get on the end of a great cross from Turgott. Powell was at the heart of every England attack throughout the first-half, causing Uruguay all sorts of problems with his movement off lone striker Hope.
Powell then turned provider for Hope, nicking the ball in midfield before picking out his team-mate who struck a low shot agonisingly wide from an acute angle.
Throughout the first-half, 'keeper Jordan Pickford had to keep his concentration, and he was forced into making a fine save from his team-mate Jake Caskey, as the Brighton midfielder mis-hit his clearance from a Uruguayan corner which nearly ended up in his own goal. The Sunderland youngster then made a good stop from midfielder Seb Canobra which was the only really danger from Uruguay in the first 45 minutes.
However it was another dominant performance in a first-half from Peacock’s side, which was rewarded on the stroke of half-time. Caskey created the goal, delivering a fantastic floating corner from the left hand side and picking out Chalobah in the middle, from where he powerfully header his side in front. It was a fully warranted lead at the break.
Predictably, Uruguay kicked the second-half off and sprung into life, piling on the pressure and creating numerous chances through striker Sergio Cortelezzi but they were unable to find the equaliser.
It was England who delivered the sucker punch though, albeit against the run of play. Winger Henshall played through Hope down the left hand side and the Everton forward raced clear of the Uruguayan defence before pulling back a lovely ball, which picked out Clayton in the box. He calmly slotted home from close range to put England two up and in complete control of the match and more importantly their top spot passage back to Pachuca for the last 16.
The England defence had to remain vigilant despite their two goal lead though. Pickford produced another fine save from a 25 yard drive from Max Moreira as Peacock made wise substitutions in the second-half with George Evans, Adam Jackson and Jack Dunn all getting a run out in the energy-sapping conditions.
It was a fantastic team performance from a maturing England side, who will take great confidence from the game into the latter stages of the competition and it is just what Peacock's side needed, as their hard work from the first three games has paid off.