Euro hopes ended by Spain
Saturday, 31 March, 2012
John Peacock's team see their season ended in Tbilisi.
England U17s missed out on qualification for the European Championship Finals, following a cruel defeat at the hands of Spain in Tbilisi on Saturday afternoon.
Both the Young Lions and Spain went into the game knowing that even a victory might not be enough to see them seal a place at May's Finals in Slovenia and that was how it proved, as host nation Georgia topped the group with a 1-0 victory over Ukraine to reach the Finals.
England Head Coach John Peacock will be disappointed with the way his side ended their season, although the scoreline certainly flattered the Spaniards on this occasion.
Peacock had predicted an open game and that was how it proved. After a first-half dominated by England, Spain were thankful to 'keeper Ruben Blanco who made a string of saves to keep the Young Lions at bay.
He kept out two efforts from Will Hughes, another fine tip-over denied Chuba Akpom and he also made a good save to prevent Calum Chambers from opening the scoring and giving England a half-time lead.
However, Spain found their rhythm in the second half and scored just five minutes after the re-start through Ivan Calero, whose curling shot found the top corner from just outside the box.
Two minutes later, they doubled their advantage when Alejandro Grimaldo advanced from left-back before driving a low shot past George Willis and into the bottom corner.
England tried to fight back and came close to reducing the arrears when Luke Woodland's header came crashing back off the bar before Callum Robinson shot the rebound over.
Hughes was then denied again as his shot beat Blanco, only to be scrambled clear off the goal-line in the 56th minute.
A minute later and Spain added a third through midfielder Sergi Samper who fired another shot beyond Willis and into the top corner.
More salt was rubbed into the wounds in added time when substitute Jose Gaya slotted home from close range following a run into the box.
With Spain's victory secured, all eyes turned to the other game across Tbilisi but with Georgia holding on for a win, neither England or Spain will be contesting for the European title this year.