VIDEO: Denis is England's menace
Tuesday, 08 February, 2011
A Denis Thomalla goal gives Germany 1-0 win in Chesterfield.
by Glenn Lavery at the B2net Stadium
Click here to watch highlights of the match.
A Denis Thomalla goal late in the first half gave Germany victory over England in front of a sell-out crowd at Chesterfield’s B2net Stadium.
In the 42nd minute, Thomalla pounced on a loose ball and steered home after England goalkeeper Lee Nicholls leapt at the frontman’s feet. There may have been a hint of a foul in Thomalla’s challenge on Nicholls, but the goal stood.
That was to prove the only goal of a high-quality match, albeit one short of clear-cut chances. And despite the defeat, Noel Blake can be pleased with his side’s performance against a German team containing nine players which helped them lift the 2009 UEFA European U17 Championship.
England’s side contained seven players who won last year’s edition, but that extra year of experience essentially made the difference on the night.
It was the visitors who had the first sight at goal when Lennart Thy flashed a shot just wide after George Thorne had been dispossessed by Felix Klaus.
It was a largely uneventful opening quarter of an hour, though both teams were insistent on getting the ball down and playing through the thirds. However, it was an in-swinging left-wing cross by Klaus that presented Germany with their next glimmer of a chance, though right-back James Hurst covered his centre-backs impressively to deny Thomalla after Thy’s flick on.
A good burst forward by Will Keane, playing upfront just off Connor Wickham, presented Tom Ince with England’s first opportunity, but his angled drive was well held by Bernd Leno.
Germany perhaps should have gone ahead in the 26th minute when another Klaus cross found Thy, via a deflection, on the penalty spot, but he could only drag his shot wide of Lee Nicholls’ left-hand post.
England had predominantly been attacking down their right, but when the ball was worked out to left via some intricate passing between Tom Thorpe, Thorne and Keane, the latter fed Wilfred Zaha on the edge of the box and the Crystal Palace forward curled narrowly beyond the frame of the goal.
Then, with ten minutes of the first half remaining, England skipper Conor Coady produced a moment of brilliance that deserved better. He collected a high German clearance, from an England corner, controlled the ball majestically, lifted it over Akaki Gogia and, with the ball still not touching the ground, unleashed a sumptuous volley which had Leno beaten but the upright intervened to deny the Liverpool lad a goal to remember. Wickham had his rebound saved by Leno and Ince fired his own follow-up wide.
It was Germany who took the lead, though, just before the break. Nicholls bravely thwarted Thy’s pursuit of a through ball and the on-loan Shrewsbury ‘keeper was up quickly to pounce at the feet of Thomalla, though the ball broke kindly for the forward who fired home. The England defence were aggrieved, believing Nicholls had been impeded, but the goal was awarded by referee Darren Drysdale.
After the restart, both sides had early efforts at goal. Klaus fired over for Germany, then Ince forced substitute goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to tip the ball around the post.
Thorpe miscued a header from Ince’s free-kick just moments before Zaha fashioned himself another strike at goal. He battled his way past substitute right-back Max Dombrowka, on for Julian Korb, but could only blaze his shot high and wide.
Keen to view as many players as possible ahead of the European Elite Round qualifiers, which begin at the end of May, Blake made a number of changes in the second period, giving Kieran Kennedy, Jordan Obita, Jake Nicholson and Jordan Slew their debuts at U19 level.
And, as England rallied for the equaliser late on, Slew came close to marking his debut with a goal, guiding Ince’s corner just over the top of the bar.
Slew was again involved in another opportunity as the game entered its final stages. He worked himself a yard of space on the left-hand touchline and sent the ball into the box for Saido Berahino, on for Wickham. Berahino chested the ball down to Obita and the Reading youngster forced ten Stegen into the save.
The young Blade should have perhaps levelled matters later still when he tried to get on the end of substitute Luke Garbutt’s low, teasing cross, but he was just centimetres away from connecting.