Peacock ready for 'nail-biter'
By Nicholas Veevers
Friday, 30 March, 2012
Young Lions ready for Euro group deciders on Saturday.
It’s set to be a nail-biting end to the Elite Qualifying Round for all concerned in Tbilisi on Saturday, as all four teams go into their final game knowing that they all have a chance of progressing into the European Championship Finals.
England face Spain in their match with both teams knowing that nothing less than a win will be good enough to see them top the Group, but with host nation Georgia facing Ukraine in the other game, they look favourites to secure their place for May’s tournament in Slovenia.
Head Coach John Peacock, who saw his team lose to an agonising late goal against Georgia on Wednesday, has quickly got his players back into focus for the deciding game and what promises to be an interesting experience for all four nations.
“It’s going to be an interesting last day,” he told TheFA.com
“You have to move forward very quickly after every game and after the disappointment of our game, Ukraine did very well against the Spanish to get a draw.
“But if anyone would have said that there was a possibility that neither England or Spain might win the group, you would be surprised.
“I did say at the start that this was a very tough group and we’ve always treated it that way.”
Peacock’s record with the U17s against the Spanish in recent years has been good, as they beat them at the same stage of the competition last year en route to an eventual semi-final spot and defeated them in the Final of the 2010 Championships in Liechtenstein.
“England v Spain is always a special occasion,” he said.
“We’ve had some good tussles with them over the last couple of years at various levels and this is the third time in three years I’ve come up against them. We’ve done quite well against them in the past and we’ve now got to do that again.
“They’ll be very similar to ourselves and it will be a more open game than the two previous matches I imagine.
“I think it will be a very good match and a great advert for youth football but ultimately we want to win the game and Spain will be the same. They’re in a worse position than us going into it, so they’ll be wanting to win.”
Basically, the Young Lions have to beat Spain and then hope that Georgia don’t beat Ukraine in order to top the group and qualify for the Finals. England are currently in second spot with three points whilst the hosts have four points. Spain are third with two, whilst Ukraine are in fourth place with just one point.
With both games being played simultaneously, there should be some interesting developments and Peacock and his players are ready for what will undoubtedly be an afternoon of ups and downs.
“It’s a really nail-biting day for all concerned, so it’s one that the boys can hopefully learn a lot from,” he explained.
“We’re ready for it and looking forward to it and hope to get the win that we need should the other result go our way.
“We’ve just got to go out and try to win the game, but if the other result doesn’t go our way then there’s nothing we can do. That’s in the lap of the Gods now.
“We’ve prepared as well as we can for the game, so we’re certainly ready for it.”