England U20s continue World Cup preparations with a 3-0 win over Uruguay
By Nicholas Veevers in Antalya
England continued their U20 World Cup preparations on Sunday evening with a 3-0 win against Uruguay in Antalya.
With both nations staying in the Turkish resort ahead of the World Cup next week, Head Coach Peter Taylor and his opposite number Juan Verzeri arranged the practice match as they fine tune their teams for the competition.
And a goal in each half from Middlesbrough duo Luke Williams and Adam Reach and a late third from Everton striker Chris Long was enough to secure victory for England in a competitive game.
Uruguay arrive in Turkey as South American Champions and it was clear they were approaching this game in a serious manner with a highly physical and, at times, niggly approach.
But Taylor will be pleased with his team, who put in a fluent and cohesive display with all 21 members of the squad getting time on the pitch.
It took England seven minutes to break the deadlock. Larnell Cole spotted Williams’ run into the box and slipped a pass through for him to round ‘keeper Guillermo De Amores before sliding home.
Harry Kane came close to adding a second in the 15th minute when he was picked out by a fine pass from Gael Bigirimana, but his low left-footer went narrowly wide of the far post.
Taylor made eight changes at the break and it took a stunning save from Connor Ripley to tip Diego Rolan's shot over the bar.
And Danny Potts was well-placed on the post from the resulting corner to prevent Felipe Avenatti’s towering header from levelling things up.
But England were still looking lively and the Three Lions doubled their advantage ten minutes after the re-start.
Reach controlled a pass on the right and cut inside to fire an unstoppable left-footer past the helpless De Amores and into the top corner.
England then had a great chance to make it three just after the hour mark, when Ross Barkley’s cross from the right picked out Alex Pritchard at the far post but he couldn’t quite direct his header on target.
Uruguay were desperate for a way back into the game and enjoyed a strong spell after that with half-time substitute Giorgan De Arrascaeta proving the main catalyst for their attacks.
It took a brave block from Tom Thorpe to divert one shot from the Uruguayan No.10 wide of the target.
Sam Johnstone then denied him further with a last-gasp save to turn a low shot over the bar with his foot after the forward had scurried his way into the box.
But England’s win was secured in the final minute, when Long was played in behind the Uruguayan defence by Bigirimana and finished well past De Amores.
It was only a training match for both sides, so nothing can be read too much into it, but Taylor will certainly be encouraged by his side’s display with just a week to go until next Sunday’s World Cup opener with Iraq.
12 George Long (13 Connor Ripley, 31) (1 Sam Johnstone, 60), 4 Jon Flanagan (14 John Stones, 46), 15 Jamaal Lascelles, 16 Tom Thorpe (2 Gael Birigimana, 78) 20 Luke Garbutt (3 Daniel Potts, 46), 6 Conor Coady (5 Eric Dier, 46), 18 John Lundstram (11 Adam Reach, 46), 2 Gael Bigirimana (21 Ross Barkley, 46), 8 Larnell Cole (19 Alex Pritchard, 46), 9 Harry Kane (10 Chris Long, 46) 17 Luke Williams (7 James Ward-Prowse, 46).
12 Guillermo De Amores, 3 Gaston Silva, 4 Guillermo Varela (6 Maximiliano Amondarain, 78), 8 Sebastian Cristoforo, 9 Diego Rolan (14 Gonzalo Bueno, 65), 11 Nicolas Lopez (5 Jim Varela, 61), 13 Diego Laxalt (10 Giorgian De Arrascaeta, 46), 15 Gino Acevedo, 17 Gianni Rodriguez, 19 Jose Gimenez (Lucas Olaza, 78), 20 Felipe Avenatti (18 Ruben Bentancourt, 75).
Subs not used:
1 Mathias Cubero, 7 Leonardo Pais, 16 Lucas Olaza, 21 Washington Aguerre.