Matchwinner Mason Bennett and goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney delighted with Euro progress
By Jamie Reid in Slovenia
Mason Bennett could not hide his delight after scoring the decisive goal in England U19s' crucial Euro 2014 qualifying victory against Switzerland.
With three goals in as many games, the 17-year-old leaves Slovenia as England’s top scorer during the week-long trip to eastern Europe, and says he’s pleased with his contribution.
“I’ve come here to score goals, that’s what I’m here for and that’s what I’ve done – so I’m very happy with that side of things,” he said.
“Everyone’s happy, everyone’s buzzing. There’s a bit of relief but I think we deserved to win the game.”
The Derby County forward scored the only goal in the final game of the UEFA European U19 Championship qualifying round – a match England had to win to claim top spot which provides them with an advantage when the draw for the Elite Round is made next month.
And Bennett added that could prove pivotal when the nations are grouped together for the next round, which takes place in May 2014.
“We’ll hopefully be in pot one with the likes of Spain and Germany, which eliminates our chances of getting them – which would be a relief," he admitted.
"But again, we’ve still got to work hard and stay collective as a team and get the results."
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney – who was a spectator for two thirds of the game before being called into action to make several crucial late saves – said that the game proved a stern test for him and his team-mates.
“It was very busy in the end, they were coming after it," he said. "They obviously wanted to win the group and stop us going through on top, but I felt we stuck in there well and did well in the end to hold out for the win.
“We started very quickly and made it hard for them and I think that perhaps showed in the last 20 minutes or so, because we were struggling with legs and people going down with cramp.
“It’s definitely about keeping concentration – I didn’t have a shot to save for over an hour, so you just have to try and stay switched on and make sure you’re constantly communicating with your teammates.”
England now go into the draw on 28 November for the Elite Round of qualifying – from which seven teams will progress to join hosts Hungary at next summer’s UEFA European U19 Championship.