Swain proud of Young Lions
Saturday, 07 August, 2010
Kenny Swain hails his side's never say die approach.
by Glenn Lavery
Kenny Swain hailed his side’s perseverance after watching them beat Iceland in the Nordic Tournament with the help of an added time own goal.
Max Clayton put the U17s ahead on 49 minutes but an equaliser looked to have earned Iceland a point in the last group game before Sunday’s final round of matches. However, Sveinsson inadvertently turned the ball into his own in the 83rd minute to give Swain’s side all three points, extending their 100 per cent record and booking them a spot in the Final, where they will meet Sweden.
"It was a bit of a slog for us,” said Swain after the game. “It was a tactical game by [Iceland]. They had nine players behind the ball for most of the game and they were waiting for us to make mistakes. I detected a bit of anxiety because I think [we] recognised that it was essentially a semi-final and it was a game we couldn't lose. We made changes to the team and you can't expect performances to keep going.
"It took us a while to get going. I made a few adjustments at half-time and I think they started to take the game forward.”
Iceland’s defensive approach ensured a goalless first half but Clayton fired England ahead just nine minutes after the break. The Scandinavians’ equaliser was the first goal the Young Lions have conceded in this tournament but England kept didn’t settle for the draw and were rewarded on the stroke of full-time.
"We always looked the team most likely to win the game,” said Swain. “Three wins in four days is a big achievement.
"I'm really proud of them. Although they might not have played as well as previously, I wouldn't expect four outstanding games. They worked hard and got the result at the last. I have to give them credit for that; they keep going until the end and they always try and win football matches.”
One more win on Sunday would hand them the Nordic title but Swain is predicting another difficult encounter.
"Sweden will be another tough test. Swedish teams always are,” he said. “But we've met all the challenges this year and have overcome them, and despite the changes in personnel, despite the opposition etc., they continue to do us proud. Now we just hope we can put a better performance in on Sunday."