Rhys Murphy scored in the 1-1 draw with Belgium, but England's hope of qualifying is in the balance.
Belgium 1-1 England
UEFA U17 Championship Finals
Friday 4 May 2007
John Peacock was left ruing the half-time interval after England were held to a 1-1 draw with hosts Belgium.
Leading through Rhys Murphy's header, the young Lions lost their momentum when the whistle blew for the break and they were caught cold two minutes into the second half when Niels Ringoot slammed home.
"Half-time came at the wrong time for us," said Peacock. "We were in the driving seat, but we lost our impetus. We did not start the second half well and we conceded a soft goal. Goals change games."
Two days after beating Iceland 2-0, England looked intent on putting the hosts to the sword, despite a few early scares.
Once in their stride, the young Lions appeared to unlock the Belgium defence at will. Leeds' Danny Rose, a constant thorn in the hosts' side, had the first chance when he crashed a shot against the crossbar on ten minutes.
Rose was at the forefront of another excellent move three minutes later, charging to the byline before crossing low but none of this team-mates where there to turn the fizzing ball in.
Belgium responded with a chance of their own when Francois concluded a good move by striking goalwards, but Middlesbrough stopper Jason Steele made a fine save.
England deservedly took the lead on 27 minutes when Rose crossed perfectly to Arsenal forward Murphy who powered home a header from close range.
Peacock's side continued to press forward with Rose, Murphy and Henri Lansbury all going close before referee Dejan Filipovic gave a fateful toot of the whistle for half-time.
"We played really well for the rest of the half and deserved to go ahead," said Peacock. "We needed a second goal - that would have made life easier, but it was not to be."
It took Belgium just two minutes after the resumption of play to draw level. Eden Hazard's corner somehow found its way to Ringoot at the far post who shot first-time past Steele.
"It was a different game once they scored," added Peacock. "Credit to them, they pressed us more in the second half and made some changes, like pushing the big number nine down the middle. We became a little static when the play switched from end to end."
England suddenly looked a little ragged and needed the excellent Steele to keep them level, the Middlesbrough keeper making a number of good saves.
But the Lions still looked potent up front and could have snatched it at the death when Rose shot wide.
"The boys worked hard today," said Peacock. "But we need to work on putting an 80 minute game together though. We have played well in patches, but not for a whole game.
"Danny Rose had an excellent first half. Joseph Mattock played well and Krystian Pearce stuck to his challenge. Jason Steele pulled off some great saves too."
England face Holland on Monday knowing a win will guarantee a Semi-Final berth.
"We don't like to make it easy! It could go down to goal difference, but if we beat Holland then we go through, it's as simple as that," Peacock said.
England: Steele (Middlesbrough), Mattock (Leicester), Pearce (Birmingham City), Spence (West Ham), Gosling (Plymouth Argyle), Lansbury (Arsenal), Woods (Chelsea), Welbeck (Manchester United), Rose (Leeds), Murphy (Arsenal).
Subs: Smithies (Huddersfield), Ofori-Twumasi (Chelsea), Plummer (Bristol City), Taiwo (Chelsea), Porritt (Middlesbrough), Franks (Middlesbrough), Hoyte (Arsenal).
Belgium Goals: Ringoot 42
England Goals: Murphy 27