England hit by late Viudez volley
Saturday, 26 September, 2009
Uruguay score a late winner to dent England's chances in Ismailia.
Nicholas Veevers in Ismailia
Brian Eastick's side were dealt a harsh lesson in their World Cup opener as substitute Tabare Viudez scored a stunning volley with six minutes remaining.
England had acquitted themselves well in a slow-paced encounter in Ismailia, but with neither side creating a wealth of goalscoring chances it seemed the match would end in a draw.
That was not to be as Uruguay's substitute striker Viudez leapt on the penalty spot and swivelled superbly to fire his volley past Elliott Parish in the England goal.
It was tough on England, who saw their first chance of the game when Febian Brandy won a corner on the right, which Paul Marshall swung over for Martin Kelly, but the big defender’s header glanced wide of the post.
That was in the seventh minute and just three minutes later a similar routine saw Kelly come even closer, when he hooked a shot narrowly wide after Marshall’s corner had been headed back into the danger zone by Ben Mee.
Matthew James then tested Nicola Perez with a low shot at goal from 25 yards after neatly breaking through the midfield.
It had been a bright first fifteen minutes from England, but Uruguay also looked dangerous in possession with some lively individuals in Jonathan Urretaviscaya and captain Nicola Lodeiro but the closest they came was when Mauricio Pereyra cut in from the right and fired a shot wide of the post.
England goalkeeper Elliott Parish was then forced into a fine save in the 24th minute though, when Lodeiro hit a fierce left footer from the edge of the box, which the Aston Villa man kept out by quickly sticking out his right hand and showing speedy reactions in the process.
Perez was forced into another stop soon after though, when Marshall struck a free-kick at goal but it was just too central and Uruguayan stopper made a comfortable save.
Uruguay almost took the lead in spectacular fashion after 40 minutes, when defender Marcelo Silva’s acrobatic overhead kick flew narrowly wide of the post, after the ball was flicked onto him from a corner.
England were forced into a change at the break with Nana Ofori-Twumasi replacing Matthew Briggs, who had taken a heavy blow on the stroke of half time.
It didn’t affect the pattern of the game too much though, with the sides still looking to probe and find a way through and both teams appearing well organised in defence.
Uruguay did threaten to make the breakthrough just shy of the hour mark when Urretaviscaya waltzed over two challenges to break into the box, but England had enough cover at the back and Mee and Adam Clayton combined well to dispossess him just as he was about to set up Santiago Garcia for a shot.
The South Americans began to enjoy their best spell of the game after that, with Kelly forced into a solid block in the area to deny Urretavisaya after he’d crept into the box and from the resulting corner by substitute Tabare Viudez, Urretaviscaya flicked a header across goal for Gacia at the far post but he shot straight at Parish.
Garcia then had an even better chance when he was put through on goal by Loderio, but his left footed shot was weak and Parish saved easily.
It was then England’s turn in the 74th minute, when substitute Jon Obika muscled his way onto a pass from Clayton and into the area but his cross drifted just over both Nimely and Brandy with both well placed.
Uruguay responded to the surge from England and secured three points from this opening match through the superb Viudez.
There is no let up for England as they face Ghana, who earlier beat Uzbekistan, on Tuesday evening.