Peter Sturgess' Euro Futsal blog: Monday 19 January

Monday 19 Jan 2015
Sturgess saw his side miss out on the next round of the Euros on goals scored
The game of Futsal can be very cruel and unforgiving. 

Prior to the tournament beginning, if anyone had offered an unbeaten set of games that included two wins and a draw I think we would have all said, “yes, please”. 

It is typical of tournament Futsal that there are so many twists and turns over the three games and even this unbeaten set of performances eventually meant that we were unable to qualify in the best second-placed finish by just one goal. 

England 3-2 Andorra

UEFA Futsal Euros
Preliminary Qualifying Round
Saturday 17 January 2015
Hibernians Pavillion, Malta

Switzerland were the team that achieved the best second-placed finish and this signalled the end of our Euro campaign.

Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Andorra was more a tactical battle rather than a replica of the full-blooded encounter we had against Latvia. 

We started with a real intensity to our attacking play and Andorra were forced back time and time again as we took a two-goal lead and this resulted in Andorra playing with a fly goalkeeper for the remainder of the half. 

Initially this caused our defence some problems and the lead was reduced to one goal. However, we scored a third almost on the stroke of half time and it looked as though this might have settled the nerves in the England dressing room at half time.

We were prepared for an Andorra onslaught in the second half as, predictably, we were forced to defend against the fly goalkeeper for virtually the whole of the half. This tactic really killed the game as a spectacle but it led to a very cagey and nervous finish. 

Andorra pulled another goal back whilst we had a number of attempts to extend our lead thwarted by either good defending or wayward shooting. The game finished with another well-deserved England victory and it was now time to wait for the other results to come in to determine our fate.

The team stayed to watch the Latvia v Malta game that was to conclude the group E games. Latvia had to win by more than four goals to go through as group winners so there was still a faint hope for England. 

England celebrate one of their goals against Cyprus

England beat Andorra in their final game, but it wasn't enough to see them qualify for the Main Round

This faint hope was extinguished in the first three minutes of the game as Latvia swept Malta aside with some clinical penetrative Futsal and raced into a four-goal lead. The game finished 8-0 to Latvia so England were now looking for the best second-placed finish. 

As the results from the other groups came in hopes were raised and dashed in equal measure but when the dust finally settled, Switzerland emerged as the best second-placed finishers and England bowed out of the qualifying stage.

However, it has been a fantastic campaign overall, as we extended our unbeaten run to eight games and this is something we are all very proud of. 

On this occasion, it has ended in heartbreak for this talented and committed group of players but if the squad can remain focused and together then there may be happier times ahead. 

I am very proud to be a Three Lion and the attitude of the players and staff over the duration of this tournament has to be commended. 

Sometimes you have to deal with adversity and disappointment in order to savour the good times ahead. With the growth of the game going from strength-to-strength in England, it is hoped that there will be many ‘good times’ ahead. 

I cannot thank everyone enough for the good will messages and support. I really do feel that we have had a huge number of supporters behind us every step of the way and I hope they too can feel proud of England’s Futsal Lions.

By FA Staff