Peter Sturgess' Euro Futsal blog: Friday 16 January

Friday 16 Jan 2015
Peter Sturgess saw his side held to a draw by Latvia
What a difference a day makes! 

The England v Latvia game I have just had the pleasure of witnessing turned out to be one of the most intense, exciting and pleasing England performances ever.

The game finished 2-2 but this scoreline does not do justice to the commitment, drive and skill demonstrated by the England Futsal squad.

England 2-2 Latvia

UEFA Futsal Euros
Preliminary Round
Thursday 15 January 2015
Hibernians Pavillion, Malta

The day started on the beach soccer and volleyball courts to relax and warm-up the players and staff. This was followed by a timed ‘dip’ in the icy cold waters of the hotel swimming pool, designed to invigorate the tired legs of the team.

Preparations were concluded in the team meeting room and some relevant clips of a very powerful Latvia team were analysed and discussed – game plan finalised. Now all we had to do was carry it out.

There was a real buzz to the warm-up and the pre-match dressing room atmosphere and this continued throughout the anthems. This game would measure our progress, our resolve and our chances of getting a very secure foothold in this tight qualifying group.

Any England Futsal fans following the game would not have been disappointed by the sheer intensity that we performed at throughout the game and in particular the second half. People watching may have feared for this young England side as Latvia moved uncomfortably into a two-goal lead. I say uncomfortably, because we matched them every step of the way and created chances only to have them snuffed out by either the miserly Latvia defence or sheer bad luck.

The game rose to another level of intensity when England pulled a goal back just before half time. 1-2 and the momentum of the game was swinging back towards England. 

In the second half, we peppered the Latvia goal with 22 shots and although possession was fairly even, the clearer chances were created by the rampant Lions. Latvia were under the severest pressure created by England’s swift incisive passing and moving style yet they still had the capability to break quickly and increase their lead, what a game!

As the clock ticked down towards the end of the second half, the England pressure finally brought a well-deserved equaliser. It came following a flowing move and concluded with a delightful finish, 2-2 and within minutes this exciting advert for Futsal was over.

I often comment that we respect all our opponents but we never fear them. The feeling of pride I have following this performance symbolised exactly this approach.

Latvia are an experienced, battle-hardened Futsal nation and to perform in the way that we did and in this most prestigious tournament really does signify the further development of this group of players. They have to take all the credit for the way they represented their country and I hope this further fuels their belief as to what is possible through hard work, practice and commitment. Proud to be a LION.

“With Unity Comes Greatness”

Pete Sturgess 

England Futsal head coach

By FA Staff