Monday, 24 May, 2010
With a semi-final berth secure, Bruno Pilatos eyes Group B top spot.
UEFA European U17 Championship
By Glenn Lavery in Liechtenstein
Although England have already booked their place in the European Championship semi-final, Bruno Pilatos insists they will go into the final Group B match against Turkey looking to maintain their 100 per cent record in the competition.
The U17s have won both of their opening two group games, against Czech Republic and Greece, adding to the six straight victories they picked up in the two rounds of European qualifiers. England do not have to get a ninth consecutive victory tonight, but the Middlesbrough player says the squad want to keep the momentum going ahead of Thursday’s semi-final.
“We want to finish top of the group,” he declared. “It will be better going into the semis having topped the group rather than finishing second and whoever’s on the pitch against Turkey know they’ve got an important job to do. It will also be good to get another win under our belts to keep the momentum going.
“Turkey are a good passing side and they are physically quite big as well, a bit like us. We are both sides who like to move the ball around so it should be a good game.”
With 17 caps to his name, Pilatos is one of the more experienced players in the England squad and he played the full 80 minutes against both Czech Republic and Greece, enjoying two solid games from his familiar role at right-back.
“I’m happy with my own performances so far,” he reflected. “I haven’t really been tested defensively yet but I’ve done alright going forward. First and foremost, though, as part of a back four the first thing I’m looking for is a clean sheet, so it was good to keep one against Greece. I want another one against Turkey now.”
Pilatos knows he and his team-mates could be just three games away from becoming the first England side to win the UEFA European U17 Championship and although his focus is purely on Turkey right now he says it is difficult to avoid thoughts of reaching the Final.
“It’s definitely in our minds. We are concentrating on Turkey first but we want to get to that Final. England have never won this [tournament] before and we’re looking to change history.”