Superior teamwork gives England's Under-17s girls the edge against their Belgian counterparts...
England 3-1 Belgium
Sofie van Houtven had a nervous opening few minutes in the Belgian goal and mis-kicked a clearance that immediately put a team-mate under pressure. England No.10 Karen Boyle moved in swiftly to wrest the ball from her and then chipped delightfully over the back-pedalling 'keeper to put the home side in front.
On six minutes England 'keeper Nicola Hobbs allowed an over-hit forward pass to slip through her hands and was grateful to Kelly Lawrence for producing an expert block tackle as Katrien Torfs shaped to shoot into an unguarded goal. But Hobbs was faultless after that, making leaping saves to deny Davin Philtjens (twice) and Karen Meeus.
England breezed into a 2-0 lead in the 10th minute as the substantial crowd of watching schoolchildren got more and more excited. Boyle had dangerous possession on the right side of the box and was approached by a clutch of defenders.
She picked out fellow striker Lianne Sanderson with a slide-rule pass to the other side and the powerful No.9 slammed a low left-footer into the corner.
With England still looking solid at the back, they continued to probe forward for a third goal after half-time. A string of long-range efforts hardly troubled substitute Belgian 'keeper, Celine Finet, but just after the hour England did go 3-0 up. Sanderson surged effortlessly to the right byeline and crossed for an unmarked Karen Carney to convert from about eight yards.
Belgium were carving out enough chances to believe that they could still make an impression. As coach Joelle Piron called out to her charges "C'est pas perdu encore!" ("It's not yet lost!"), Philtjens proved the point by taking the ball round Lauren Wells at the end of a mazy run and slotting the ball home in the 76th minute.
There were seven minutes of stoppage time and Belgium did contrive to miss a couple of simple chances but England stayed supreme at 3-1.
All the England team played well. Kelly Lawrence was commanding in defence, Bonnie Horwood rarely wasted a pass in midfield and Lianne Sanderson caused the visitors problems in attack with her direct approach.
From David Barber at Yeading
England: Nicola Hobbs (sub Lauren Wells, 61), Julie Lowe, Annabelle Pryce, Bonnie Horwood, Beth Clark, Kelly Lawrence, Karen Carney, Heather Scheuber (sub Beth Bygrave, 74), Lianne Sanderson (sub Emma Ford, 74), Karen Boyle, Dannii Bird (sub Cassie Thorpe, 80)
Goals: Boyle 3, Sanderson 10, Carney 61
Belgium: Sofie van Houtven (sub Celine Finet, 45), Adeline Meeus (sub Janice Cayman, 72), Ann Stoffels, Imke Borms (sub Nathalie Weytjens, 73), Marijke Vleminckx, Melissa Ranson (sub Lenis Onzia, 66), Katrien Torfs (sub Nathalie Stesses, 45), Marlies Verbruggen, Karen Meeus (sub Annelies Santens, 80), Nathalie Junius, Davin Philtjens
Goals: Philtjens 76
Referee: Mr HJ Berrey
Booked: Stesses, 59
Attendance: 350 (estimated)