We gave it our whole
Friday, 02 October, 2009
Head Coach reflects on World Cup exit in Egypt.
Nicholas Veevers in Suez
England U20s Head Coach Brian Eastick saw his team bow out of the World Cup in Egypt on Friday evening, when their 1-1 draw with Uzbekistan wasn’t enough to clinch a place in the Second Round.
The Young Lions knew they had to win their final Group D game and then rely on other results if they were to progress to the last 16 of the competition, but it didn’t even come to that as Uzbekistan put up a firm defence throughout the game and almost sneaked a win themselves before Alex Nimely’s fine finish brought things level.
“I thought we were the better team tonight, but I think Ghana and Uruguay are without doubt the best two sides in this group and they’ve rightly progressed,” said Eastick.
“I asked the players for a better performance tonight and I think that’s what we got.
“It really was a much better performance. We had lots of possession and I thought we were the positive team, but Uzbekistan defended very well and we got caught on the break.
“We knew we had to score goals to have a chance of going through and we were positive and created a few chances but just didn’t take them.
“After Uzbekistan scored, I thought we deserved that goal to equalise and it was ironic that in the end, the best chance of the game fell to our goalkeeper!”
It has been a regular theme throughout the competition for Eastick to be asked on the issue of player selection, but he had nothing but praise for those in the squad here who have fostered a fine spirit and togetherness in the time away.
“Since our preparations in Cyprus, their application has been good, they’ve conducted themselves very well and worked very, very hard,” he revealed.
“The players that were here have played to their maximum and I think we could’ve perhaps done better in creating more in the final third of the pitch and I do think we lacked a bit of cutting edge.
“Our best chances all came from set plays and the players here have all worked really hard, but I think the best two teams from this group have gone on.
“To play in a World Cup is a tremendous experience for any young footballer though and all of the players who have been here will go back to their clubs as better players because of it.”