England suffer Danish defeat
Friday, 06 May, 2011
England slip to defeat in Serbia after Danes strike twice.
By Nicholas Veevers in Novi Sad
A below par England slipped to their first competitive defeat of the season on Friday afternoon, when two first-half goals from Denmark caught them cold in a balmy Novi Sad.
After drawing their opening match with France on Tuesday, John Peacock had hoped today’s game would give his side an opportunity to register their first win of the Finals and a better chance of progressing to next week’s semi-final.
However, they found themselves up against a resilient and spirited Danish team and, fresh from their 3-2 victory over hosts Serbia earlier in the week, they made it hard all over the pitch for the Young Lions with their movement and hard work right from the first whistle.
It was England who came closest to opening the scoring though, when Nathan Redmond’s run and cross from the right picked out Hallam Hope in the area. He managed to swivel away from his marker and fire in a shot, but it flew narrowly wide of the far post after just ten minutes.
Things took a turn for the worst shortly afterwards, as Denmark broke the deadlock. Peacock will have been disappointed as England lost possession on the left, allowing the lively Danny Amankwaa to break clear. He moved the ball inside for Viktor Fischer, who unleashed a powerful shot from 25 yards and into the top corner, with Jordan Pickford helpless to stop it.
Less than ten minutes later, things got even worse for England as the Danish defence snuffed out a cross from Redmond and promptly took the direct route to goal. Mads Aaquist and Lasse Christensen linked up well on the right before the latter played a long, diagonal ball over the top for Kenneth Zohore. He beat Sam Magri to the ball and broke into the box before firing a low, angled shot past Pickford and into the bottom corner.
England looked to pick themselves up immediately and started to string together some possession and pressure. Captain Nat Chalobah in particular was unfortunate not to pull a goal back when he headed Redmond’s driven corner narrowly wide of the post.
Another Redmond cross in the 36th minute picked out Blair Turgott in the middle, but he was always stretching and couldn’t fully connect as England continued their chase for a goal before the break.
Peacock was forced into an early change before half time too as Raheem Sterling, who appeared to pick up a knock in the build-up to Denmark’s opener, was replaced by Max Clayton. The Crewe forward almost made an instant impact, as he laid off a pass into the path of Hope whose rising shot went over the bar with Denmark holding on to their lead at the break.
A similar theme continued in the second half as England continued to enjoy the better of the ball, but just couldn’t break down a stubborn Danish rearguard. With an hour on the clock, they came as close as they’d been, when substitute Alex Henshall and Hope combined to set-up Clayton just inside the box, only for his fine shot to come crashing back off the bar.
Henshall again made inroads on the left soon after, but his low centre was blocked and the Danes hung on again as the clock ticked down.
But it just wasn’t to be for England, so they now go into Monday’s final Group A game against Serbia knowing that only a victory will be good enough to give them a chance of progressing to the semi-finals or possible qualification for the FIFA U17 World Cup in Mexico.
One thing is for sure, it’s still all to play for and the Young Lions will look to put this behind them and move swiftly on.
(photos courtesy of Sportsfile)