Head Coach Brian Eastick felt his side were unlucky not to have run out as winners against Italy.
UEFA European U19 Championship
Chance Arena, Jablonec, Czech Republic
8pm (local time) Thursday 17 July 2008
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England U19 Head Coach Brian Eastick felt much happier with his players on Thursday evening, after seeing the Young Lions put in a fluid performance against Italy which yielded a draw, although it could have been more.
After the disappointment of Monday’s reverse against the Czech Republic, England bounced back to dominate against the Azzurini in Jablonec, enjoying the majority of possession and creating plenty of chances.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t find the breakthrough but the spirit and improvement shown from the first game gave Eastick plenty of food for thought.
“I think it was a considerable improvement from Monday in terms of the team performance, we were much better today than we were against the Czech Republic,” he said.
“In the first half in particular, we played some really good football without quite having that cutting edge up front, but I think the players can be proud of their performance and could argue that maybe they were a shade unlucky not to get the three points.
“But to get the three points, you’ve got to get the ball in the net and we failed to do that.
“We had a clean sheet though, which we normally do on a regular basis and I thought the players did England proud today, whereas we were below par against the Czech Republic.
“This was much more like the team that I’ve been privileged to be in charge of for the qualifying campaign.”
The first half saw England come agonisingly close on a number of occasions to opening their scoring account in the competition and whilst Eastick is concerned at his team’s lack of goals, he is more than confident that they can find the scoring touch.
“It’s always a concern when you’ve failed to score, but we’ve got some goalscorers in the team in Daniel Sturridge, Freddie Sears and Danny Rose,” he admitted.
“I do think that if we continue to play that type of football, particularly as we did in the first half, then the goals will come.
“In the second half, Italy were quite clever and put the two holding midfielders in there against us, where we were getting quite a bit of joy in the first half with Victor Moses getting in those areas.
“The change nullified us to some extent in the second half.
“We’re still in the tournament though and we now need to beat Greece, so that’s all we can do and just keep our fingers crossed.”
The Young Lions are next in action on Sunday evening, when they face Greece in Liberec, knowing that they need a victory to give themselves any chance of progressing into the semi-finals.