Denmark spot on as England U17s end with a cruel defeat

Saturday 02 Aug 2014
Denmark defeated England U17s 1-0 in Kolding
England finished the Nordic Tournament in fourth position after suffering a cruel late defeat to the host nation in Kolding on Saturday.

After controlling the majority of the game, they were left to rue a lack of cutting edge as they were struck down by a penalty with just over ten minutes to go courtesy of Nicklas Rojkjaer.

England began the proceedings in control, moving the ball from one side of the pitch to another with a series of neat passing movements, moving Denmark around their own half.

England 0-1 Denmark

Nordic U17 Tournament
Third Place Play-Off
Saturday 2 August 2014

Jonathan Leko, playing down the left hand side instead of the central position he had occupied during his previous matches at the tournament, was looking lively in the early stages as he and his team-mates restricted Denmark to a solitary effort from Mathias Bonde that failed to trouble Taye Ashby-Hammond in the England goal.

Todd Cantwell, who scored his first international goal on Tuesday against Finland, was sitting in the hole behind frontman Admiral Muskwe, and each time he got the ball it felt as if something would happen. 

The Denmark defence appeared to feel the same way, as he was twice stopped illegally by trips before the midway point of the half.

For all the possession and passing play they were enjoying, Micciche’s youngsters lacked that killer pass to carve a clear opening on goal, but they did test the goalkeeper on the half-hour mark as Oscar Hedvall saved down low to his left from Muskwe’s free-kick.

It seemed to whet the appetite of England, with Cantwell letting rip with a stinger seconds later that was well parried by Hedvall before Muskwe failed to connect properly with a right-footed strike. Another chance in quick succession then came the way of Leko, who burst past a defender and unleashed a powerful drive from an acute that was tipped over the bar.

For all their dominance, England had to be wary of the breakaway, but with Reece Oxford and Darnell Johnson in dominant form, the host nation could muster very little and it remained goalless at the break.

There were no changes at the break for Micciche’s side, but Denmark made a triple change as midfielder Alexander Tved Hansen was introduced into the midfield and Mark Brink Christensen and Marco Harboe Ramkilde were charged with bolstering the attack.

With the wind now to their advantage, the hosts started the brighter, and Ashby-Hammond had to best at his best to tip a 20-yard shot from Agon Mucolli around the post in the early stages after the restart.

The Young Lions retaliated, and good work from Herbie Kane saw him dink the ball into the danger zone for Muskwe to outpower a defender and strike – but he only found the side netting as the game remained deadlocked.

The Leicester City forward then won the ball in the centre circle and powered forward before he was fouled out on the left. Cantwell played a short free kick to Leko, who took a touch before striking an attempt that whizzed just over the crossbar – which was to be his last contribution as he was replaced by Yan Dhanda down the left – but he was unable to make any impact before the deadlock was broken.

As the match approached the final ten minutes, substitute Brink Christensen wrong footed Johnson on the edge of the area as he found himself with a clear run on goal. As he prepared to pull the trigger he was sent tumbling by a desperate lunge by Oxford eight yards out, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot. Rojkjaer was handed the honours as he stepped forward to convert the spot-kick.

Determined not to go out with a whimper, England pushed on in search of a late equaliser with Marcus Edwards, who had been introduced to the fray prior to the goal, forcing the ‘keeper to scramble his effort over the crossbar from a free-kick.

The Tottenham Hotspur youngster was at it again seconds later, collecting the ball on the right and running inside to hit it left footed but Hedvall was able to smother it and seal the win and third place in the tournament for his side.

A disappointing end for England at the Nordics, but with the performances throughout the week, if they can find a cutting edge they will be more than a match for anybody.

England (4-2-3-1): 1 Taye Ashby-Hammond (Fulham); 2 Trent Arnold (Liverpool), 6 Darnell Johnson (Leicester City), 5 Reece Oxford (West Ham United) (c), 17 Edward Francis (Manchester City); 4 Herbie Kane (Liverpool), 18 Callum Slattery (Southampton); 16 Sadou Diallo (Manchester City), 15 Todd Cantwell (Norwich City), 9 Jonathan Leko (West Brom); 11 Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City)

Substitutes: 14 Daniel Wright (Sunderland) for Arnold (46), 10 Marcus Edwards (Tottenham Hotspur) for Diallo (54), 8 Yan Dhanda (Liverpool) for Leko (65), 12 Kyle Edwards (West Brom) for Cantwell (65)

Subs not used: 13 William Huffer (Leeds United)

Bookings: Kane (40)

Head Coach: Dan Micciche

Denmark (4-5-1): 16 Jacob Pryts Larsen; 2 Oskar Buur (c), 18 Andreas Friis Sorensen, 4 Jeppe Schultz, 13 Gonzalo Jorgensen; 17 Nicklas Rojkjaer, 7 Nikolaj Kirk, 12 Agon Mucolli, 14 Mathias Bonde, 11 Jacob Bruun Larsen; 15 Mathias Laursen

Substitutes: 9 Marco Harboee for Laursen (40), 6 Alexander Tved Hansen for Bonde (40), 8 Marco Brink Christensen for Kirk (40, 5 Mark Petersen for Jorgensen (55), 3 Adnan Curovic for Mucolli (80)

Subs not used: 1 Oscar Hedvall, 10 Nikolai Laursen

Bookings: Mucolli (18, Friis Sorensen (49) , Schultz (77)

Head Coach: Jan Michaelsen

Referee: Nermin Cisic

Attendance: 489

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer at Mosevej Stadium, Kolding, Denmark