Young Lions lose season opener
Thursday, 06 September, 2012
Opening game defeat in Hamburg for Noel Blake's U19 side.
By James Marshall in Hamburg
England U19s slipped to defeat in their opening game of the 2012-13 season, as Germany completed a 3-1 victory over the Young Lions in Hamburg.
Noel Blake's side fell behind to an early goal after just two minutes as Samed Yesil opened the scoring, only for Nick Powell to score a fine equaliser just after the half-hour mark, expertly chipping German 'keeper Odisseas Vlachodimos.
However, the hosts showed their ruthless streak after the break with Liverpool striker Yesil getting a second goal and then his strike partner Sebastian Kerk added a third to the give the scoreline a somewhat flattering shade in Germany's favour at full-time.
Germany made a terrific start to the game though, with some slick passing football catching England off guard and it only took them two minutes to open the scoring through Yesil. Producing some fine trickery in the penalty area when the ball broke free, Yesil unleashed a fantastic strike into the bottom right-hand corner leaving England stopper Jordan Pickford with no chance.
Although it wasn't the start that England would've wanted, they quickly re-gained their composure, settled down and produced some well-worked football throughout the first-half.
Seeing more of the ball than their hosts, the Young Lions had to be patient, with only a half chance falling to Max Clayton in the first 30 minutes as they continued to probe.
However, their patience did pay off when playmaker Nick Powell charged down a clearance on the half-way line, which landed right in his path. Taking the ball on and bursting through the German defence, the Manchester United youngster produced a delicious chip over Vlachodimos to give his side a deserved equaliser.
Blake's side no doubt went in at the break the happier, after playing their way back into the match and ending the first half the better of the two sides.
However, the Head Coach will not be pleased with the way his team started the second half as they were caught cold just two minutes after the re-start. It was Yesil who did the damage again, firstly forcing a good safe from Pickford before placing the rebound past the Sunderland 'keeper.
It got worse for England just before the hour mark, as Germany made it 3-1 through Kerk, who calmly slotted home past the helpless Pickford.
England didn't give up though and continued to press Germany's backline, whilst Blake changed things around in the second-half as all his squad got a run out aside from Daniel Potts, who had picked up a slight knock in training to rule him out.
Despite the multiple substitutions, England continued to play some smart football but were just unable to score a second goal past an organised German defence.
The U19s now turn their attentions to next month's European Championship qualifiers against Faroe Islands, Ukraine and Estonia out in Tallinn, a familiar location for Blake and his staff after reaching last season's Euro Finals there in July.
To see the line-ups, click on 'Team Sheet' link above.