On the front foot
Nicholas Veevers in Donetsk
Friday, 24 July, 2009
Brian Eastick feels his side need to play to their strengths on Friday.
England U19s Head Coach Brian Eastick feels that attack could be the best form of defence against Ukraine on Friday evening.
The Young Lions take on their hosts in the European U19 Championship finals in Donetsk, knowing that a win would go a long way towards helping them into next week’s semi-finals.
However, the home team are expected to be backed by a sizeable and fervent crowd in the Olimpiyskyi Stadium so that is one obstacle that England must overcome first.
“That’s what we’re here for, to deal with and experience those sort of circumstances so in some ways it might work in our favour,” explained Eastick ahead of the game.
“Most of our players have played in front of big crowds before, so they’ll be somewhat used to that sort of environment but we’ll still have to be at our best if we want to get three points.”
All four teams in Group A drew their opening game, with Ukraine held by Slovenia and England denied victory by a last gasp Switzerland equaliser on Tuesday.
That means all four teams will still be eyeing a progression into the semi-finals, if they can do well in the two remaining games.
“It’s all on again and we still have a good chance of getting to the semi-finals,” added Eastick.
“I think Ukraine will be favourites to top the group though.
“They’re a decent team, plus the fact they have the home advantage and they’ll have the crowd behind them tonight.
“They’re expecting between 15 and 20 thousand people at the game so that is a distinct advantage for them.
“Hopefully we can get on the front foot and be positive. We certainly don’t want to be defending for long periods of time and if we can, we’ll try and take the game to them.
“If we’re at our best, then we can definitely beat them.”
Remember, the match with Ukraine will be shown live on Eurosport, with a kick-off at 5,30pm BST.