Wednesday, 02 June, 2010
Head Coach delighted to reach the Finals after result in Ukraine.
UEFA European U19 Championship
Elite Qualifying Round
26-31 May 2010
Click here for results
By Nicholas Veevers
England U19s Head Coach Noel Blake felt his side were deserved victors in the Elite Qualifying Round to confirm their place at this year’s European Championship Finals.
After wins against Republic Of Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina in their first two fixtures, the Young Lions knew that they only required a draw from Monday’s game with hosts Ukraine to seal top spot in the group and a passage into the last eight.
They got the result they needed too, courtesy of Dean Parrett’s late equaliser, and Blake was pleased with the overall outcome.
“We went into the game knowing that we only needed a draw, so we set up for the match knowing that we’d be facing a real high energy team, with a passionate crowd behind them and knowing that they needed to win the game,” he explained.
“It started as you might expect and they had the early impetus and we were a bit sloppy in possession but when the game had settled down after 20 minutes or so, I felt we were always in the ascendancy and defensively we were always in control with a good team ethic
“When they scored late on, I told the lads not to panic and in fairness, they responded really well.
“We got the goal back and then I felt we could have gone and got another two goals in the game.
“They weren’t so much opportunities, but situations which we created and with a little bit more care and attention, we could’ve made them count.”
Overall, Blake felt the trip to Ukraine will have acted as a great learning curve and education for his squad as they faced three different styles of situation and opposition and came through with flying colours.
“The first match with Ireland was very demanding, with a real Britishness about it, but also played in the right way,” he said.
“It was only 1-0, but I felt we had the better opportunities in the match, for longer spells and it could’ve been more comfortable.
“We then expected to beat Bosnia in the second match, but that game brought a different challenge against a passionate, eastern European nation and sometimes you can get caught off-guard in these sort of games.
“All credit to the lads though, as we started on the front foot, got an early goal and went on to win 4-0 and again, it could have been five or six if the game had gone on longer.”
England will now head to the Finals in Normandy, where they will be up against hosts France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Croatia and Austria. The draw takes place on Friday.