TheFA.com's Nicholas Veevers blogs from the England camp as they prepare to face Chile
By Nicholas Veevers in Antalya
Our U20 World Cup kick-off didn’t go to plan on Sunday evening, of that there’s no denying.
A 2-2 draw with Iraq, especially the manner in which the opponents came back from two goals down, wasn’t what Peter Taylor and his squad would’ve wanted going into the game.
But there were plenty of positives to take from the performance and despite the inevitable criticism and comments made back home after the result, looking back, it’s hard to see just how England didn’t win that game.
For an hour, the game was dominated by England and it was a hard lesson for the team to lose a lead that they had worked for and deserved.
They will learn and improve from that final 15 minutes, whether it was down to ‘game management’ or the tiredness that kicked-in when Iraq were given their lifeline and a second wind.
Of course there was disappointment around the camp on Sunday evening and into the early hours of Monday when we arrived back at base.
But the squad spirit remains strong, the Iraq match is out of the system and the players’ focus on Wednesday’s game with Chile began straight after Monday’s breakfast with a squad meeting to go over aspects of Sunday and look forward.
There remains a strong resolve amongst the players to put it right over the last two games, with Group E still being wide open.
Once the World Cup kicks-off, it’s amazing how quickly the days start to pass, with only 72 hours before the next one.
So the double training sessions which the squad experienced over the last two weeks or so are now a thing of the past.
Monday saw those who had started Sunday's game remain at the hotel for a recovery session and some time in the gym with the medical team.
And the remaining ten players from the squad were back to the training ground with Taylor and his coaches as Wednesday’s game approaches.
The squad will be back in full training together on Tuesday ahead of the Chile game and with a 21-man group to select from, Taylor may choose to make changes and he has plenty of options with no injuries or suspensions as I write.
Despite the acclimatisation spell the group have had in Turkey, it’s still hard for them to come to terms with the heat and humidity here.
Wednesday’s match is a 6pm kick-off in local Turkish time, so that will be tough for both nations.
Chile top the group at the moment following their close 2-1 win over Egypt on Sunday and go into the match knowing that another victory or even a draw should be enough to take them into the last 16.
But England will be doubly determined after Sunday to put things right and get themselves in with a reasonable shout of progress.
They showed enough in the first hour of that game to suggest they could cause any team problems and with a bit more luck in front of goal and some tighter finishing, the game could have been over by half time.
But, that’s history now and we go on into Wednesday with confidence and high hopes.
Incidentally, after Wednesday's game the squad are transported to Bursa for the third group game with Egypt by flying to Istanbul and then catching a ferry across the Sea Of Marmara to their new base.
So hopefully I'll be writing my next update as we cross the water with a victory in the bag.
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