Winner takes all
By Nicholas Veevers
Saturday, 04 June, 2011
Noel Blake pleased with 'Cup Final' scenario on Sunday.
England U19s go into Sunday’s Elite Round decider with Spain knowing that only a win is good enough to take them into the last eight of Europe and that’s a situation that Head Coach Noel Blake is delighted with.
The Young Lions are level on points with Spain in the group, with both sides having beaten Switzerland and Montenegro in their first two games, but Spain’s slightly favourable goal difference means that if they avoid defeat on Sunday then they will finish top and head into July's Finals in Romania.
However, Blake wouldn’t have it any other way than that and is looking forward to the task of guiding the U19s to what would be their fourth successive year in the Euro Finals after trips to Czech Republic, Ukraine and France in recent summers.
“I told the players to treat the Switzerland game as a semi-final, so the last game is now our final and that’s what we try to tell them in every tournament,” revealed Blake.
“We know what we need to do on Sunday, we just want to go and get a result.”
Spain are perennial challengers at all development levels in Europe, so Blake knows that his side will face a tough game in Nyon but it will be another good experience for them whatever the outcome.
With England needing to win, Blake admits it will have to be a carefully hatched plan in order to get the three points but his side will certainly be well versed in what they need to do.
“We’ve watched them when we can and studied the DVDs,” he added. “They look like a very good side, as you’d expect, so it’s a challenge for the lads and it’s one that we’re looking forward to.
“It will be an open game. We know we need to win the game, but we won’t go gung-ho straightaway.
“There are 90 minutes to go and get the result, so we will approach the game in the right and professional way.”
The match is being screened live on Spanish channel Marca.