England’s Futsal World Cup dreams were brought to an end on Sunday as they suffered a 4-0 defeat against Belgium in their third and final game of the Main Round.
After suffering a 7-0 reverse against favourites Ukraine in their first game and then a narrow loss to hosts Hungary on Friday, this game was an opportunity for both nations to get their first points.
FIFA Futsal World Cup
10-13 December 2015
By Bob Cotter
But it was not to be as Belgium proved to be a stronger outfit in the second half, after a goal-less opening period thanks to some impressive goalkeeping from England’s Tom Dennis whilst Ward, Raoni Medina, Agon Rexha and Doug Reed all forced saves from the Belgium keeper as they looked to get the first goal.
After the break, there were further chances for Ian Parkes, Rexha and Luke Ballinger as the Three Lions pushed for an opener.
As the game wore on, the tiredness caused by playing at such an intensity took its effect, as a loose pass was intercepted and Belgium took the lead.
Less than a minute later, another error set up Belgium and they made no mistake to take a two-goal lead.
A third followed when Medina’s pass back slipped past Jennings and rolled half the length of the court to end up in the England net.
Rexha then hit the bar but Belgium capitalised on another loose ball and completed the scoring in the last minute to make it 4-0.
Reflecting on the result, head coach Sturgess said: "These players have given everything and they need to be proud of what they have achieved.
"Qualifying in Israel in the first place was a major achievement and tiredness has played a huge part as this game wore on and we have shown what we can do now we are at this level.
"Our opponents have been impressed and they congratulated us on our style and play. Lapses have cost us dearly at times and we need to ensure we strengthen our game to compete against these sides."
Having played three very strong sides and coming into this round as clear underdogs, the team can reflect on a good tournament despite the result.
England showed that for much of the games with Hungary and Belgium, they can compete at this level. Ukraine, who won the group, were a different class and they outplayed everyone with their fast incisive play.
England now have a measure as to where they go next and the lessons learnt from this experience will help them improve and move forward.
England squad: Thomas Dennis (Loughborough Futsal Club), Mark Croft (Loughborough Futsal Club) Douglas Reed (Baku United Futsal Club) Guillermo Wallace (Real Betis Futsal Club), Maximilian Kilman (Genesis Futsal Club), Stuart Cook (Helvecia Futsal Club), David Jennings (West London Futsal Club), Agon Rexha (Baku United Futsal Club), James Webb (Penya Esplugues), Richard Ward (Sheffield Fustal Club), Luke Ballinger (FC Salisbury Futsal Club), Ian Parkes (Bristol City Futsal Club), Russell Goldstein (Helvecia Futsal Club), Raoni Medina (Helvecia Futsal Club)
Head Coach: Peter Sturgess.