Three Lions roar to thrilling victory over Wales in Cardiff

Monday 24 Mar 2014
England beat Wales by 7-4 in Cardiff on Sunday afternoon

The England Futsal family had a day to remember in Cardiff, with both the England Deaf Futsal team and the England Men’s Senior Futsal team storming to large victories against their Welsh opponents. 

In front of 300 vocal Welsh fans, the England Deaf Squad set the scene with a comprehensive 11-6 win and this was followed up with a thrilling encounter between the Men’s Senior Futsal teams which saw England win 7-4.

England went into the game as firm favourites, but the Welsh squad have made significant progress over recent years and in only the second full international between the two rival nations the Lions had a tough job on their hands. 


Wales 4-7 England

International Futsal Match
4.15pm, Sunday 23 March
Cardiff City House Of Sport
By Simon Walker



Pete Sturgess’ men started the game brightly, taking the spark out of the Welsh crowd with some electric play that forced the hosts onto the back-foot. 

England peppered the Welsh goal with shot after shot and if goalkeeper Dafydd Jones hadn’t been in the form of his live, England surely would have established a commanding lead.

But as is so often the case in international Futsal, failing to take your chances at key points can cost you dearly, and in Wales’ first serious attack they took the lead through Tyrell Webbe’s calm finish after 10 minutes. 

This was a body-blow to the England players, who had dominated proceedings, as Wales seized the initiative and showed their class. Minutes before half time, they had an outstanding chance to extend their lead as Doug Reed lost the ball to allow two Welsh attackers close in on James Dalton in the English goal but Dean Maynard missed a sitter from close range. 

This was the turning point of the game, as a 2-0 lead at half time would have made life very difficult for England.  Instead it was the Three Lions who finished the half on a high, with Agon Rexha finishing a wonderful passing move to make it 1-1.

England dominated possession after the re-start but Wales Head Coach Richard Gunney will be disappointed in the manner that Sturgess’s men snatched control of the game. 

After 23 minutes, Tyler Mills received a second booking for incorrectly entering the field of play, a novice mistake which left the referee with no option but to send him off. 

With Wales a man down, England showed their experience by reverting to a fly goalkeeper which led to an excellent chipped finish by Dave Jennings to make it 2-1.

When Wales were restored to their full complement of players, they capitalised almost instantly to the delight of the home crowd after some scrappy English defending presented Rico Zulkarain with a goal to level the scores. 

England Futsal captain Luke Ballinger in action against Lithuania.

Luke Ballinger scored two in Sunday's game


But England maintained their focus and a minute later Wales allowed too much space to Reed, who shot low and hard from distance to beat Jones.

England slowed the game down and began to look in command before captain Luke Ballinger put the game beyond Wales once and for all. 

Ballinger used all of his experience as England’s most capped Futsal player and top goalscorer to hammer home a free-kick from distance on 31 minutes. 

And before Wales could restore calm into their ranks, Ballinger came calling again to score his second, finishing off another scintillating team goal to make it 5-2 to England.

Wales were reeling, but England presented them with a lifeline after conceding a soft foul at the expense of a penalty.

Dalton came to the rescue to deny the Red Dragons with a save from the subsequent long penalty, before England stepped up a gear again.

Ian Parkes calmly slotted past Jones after 36 minutes and Morgan scoring another cleverly worked team goal to make it 7-2 with three minutes remaining. 

Onlookers began to fear what the final score could end up, but the Welsh showed characteristic fight and pride to score two late goals through Prangley and Zulkarain. 

Although England will be disappointed at the manner they conceded these two final goals to make it 7-4, Wales deserved to walk off the pitch with their heads held high; the Lions know full well that this was a tough battle in this Cardiff classic.   

By FA Staff