England 2-2 Switzerland
World Deaf Futsal Championship
Sunday 11 November 2007
The Three Lions were held to a tense draw today in their second
World Championship match against Switzerland in Sofia, with Peter Sturgess’ team finding themselves frustrated following the stronghold performance of the Swiss defence and goalkeeper.
After the players and officials of both teams held a minute’s silence before the game, as mark of respect for Remembrance Sunday, it was Switzerland who secured the early control of the game.
However, England’s Daniel Hogan and John Atkinson made a couple of early attempts on the Swiss goal during the opening exchanges, and with the introduction of Alistair Dalziel, England’s attacking power was livened up, with his long range shot rattling against the post.
It was Switzerland who took the lead though, when a close range shot left goalkeeper Sam Kitchin well beaten. That strike allowed the Swiss team to pull back and adapt a tight defensive tactic, which made for more frustration for Sturgess’ team. However, Hogan saw a shot go just over the bar before youngster Liam Coventry also went close.
In the chase for a leveller, Rowan Dixon was introduced to allow Taljinder Singh to catch a breather from his defensive duties and to engage some attacking style for England. It had the desired effect, as Dixon instantly linked up with Hogan and England continued to put more and more strain on the Swiss defence who managed to hold firm until the half time whistle.
Brian Green was introduced to the game immediately after the re-start and this change added some spark to England’s game, with the wait for a goal ending when Hogan found a yard of space to fire in a low shot and leave the Swiss keeper well beaten.
England continued to apply the pressure on Switzerland, but Ben Lampert, Atkinson and Hogan were all denied by the Swiss keeper’s heroic reflex saves. Singh then saw a powerful shot blocked out once again with another fine finger-tip save from the opposition keeper.
However, after a lapse in concentration from the Three Lions, Switzerland regained the lead when their striker sneaked a goal inbetween England’s defence.
England refused to be beaten though and with seven minutes to play, the sensational Hogan engaged his footwork skills to dribble into the heart of Swiss penalty area and equalise for England with an excellent chip over the goalkeeper, much to the delight of the England officials.
Sturgess was certainly encouraged with the result, saying: “We went into the match wanting to win the three points, but we also did not want to lose.
“Switzerland had the advantage in the first half, when they put themselves a goal up and adapted to defensive football, putting all sort pressure on us.
“It was a fair result, and we played excellent attacking game, but credit to their goalkeeper who was excellent today and we have another exciting match ahead of us tomorrow against Slovakia”
This result leaves England unbeaten in the Championship, with seven points from their two games (Three points were also awarded after Guinea’s failure to attend the Championships) ahead of Monday’s match against Slovakia.
England lie tied in second place in their group at present, with the Netherlands above them on nine points. Switzerland share second spot with England, while Saudi Arabia are currently third, having registered their first points against Slovakia, who are at the bottom with Guinea.
England: Sam Kitchin, Daniel Hogan, Brian Green, Ben Lampert, Taljinder Singh, John Atkinson (C), Rowan Dixon, Liam Coventry, Oliver Monksfield, Alistair Dalziel
Players not used: Daniel Holdsworth, Steven Wynne
Slovakia – Monday 12 November 4:00pm (2:00pm GMT)
Netherlands – Tuesday 13 November 5:30pm (3:30pm GMT)