England miss out on silverware after Germany edge decider

Tuesday 13 Oct 2015
Matt Grimes and goalscorer Maximilian Dittgen

England missed out on winning the Mercedes-Benz Elite Cup after a narrow 1-0 defeat to Germany in Heidenheim.

It was a neatly-taken finish from SG Sonnenhof forward Maximilian Dittgen that won the game for the hosts early in the second half.

And despite Keith Downing's side pushing for an equaliser late on, Germany held out to take the prize.

Germany U20s 1-0 England U20s

Mercedes-Benz Elite Cup
Tuesday 13 October
Arena Heidenheim, Germany

After victories over Holland and Turkey already in the four-nations tournament, England knew that another win would be enough to lift the silverware.

They started an even first half well, and perhaps should have taken the lead inside the opening five minutes.

A glorious chance fell for Reece Brown ten yards out, but the Birmingham City man poked his effort wide. 

Luca-Milan Zander’s run down the right and into the box for Germany was threatening, but England managed to snuff out the chance with the Werder Bremen full-back ready to pull the trigger from close-range. 

Robert Bauer also came close with a curler from 20 yards, which just missed Russell Griffiths’ post, while Ryan Kent’s strike on the run for the visitors dipped over the bar and landed on the roof of the net.

Alex Gilliead goes up against Max Wittek

Alex Gilliead goes up against Max Wittek

It was Germany, though, who went in front when Dittgen tucked home three minutes after the break. 

Substitute Pascal Stenzel collected a half-clearance from Griffiths before threading a fine pass into the box for Dittgen running through. He applied a deft touch to clip beyond the Colwyn Bay keeper and into the net.

Stenzel’s introduction gave a spark to the Germans and the Borussia Dortmund midfielder himself fizzed a shot from 25 yards that arrowed narrowly wide of the post, almost extending the lead.

Griffiths needed to be alert to keep out a fierce low strike from Maximilian Wittek with just over five minutes remaining, after he burst down the left before drilling low towards the bottom corner.

A late flurry of attacks from England failed to produce anything clear-cut as Germany held firm to secure the points and the Mercedes-Benz Elite Cup.

Germany: 23 Fabian Bredlow, 2 Luca-Milan Zander, 3 Maximilian Wittek, 4 Moritz Sprenger, 6 Robert Bauer, 7 Maximilian Dittgen, 9 Luca Waldschmidt, 11 Marvin Stefaniak, 15 Thilo Kehrer, 16 Grischa Promel (c), 20 Boubacar Barry

Subs: 1 Marvin Schwabe, 9 Max Christiansen, 19 Maximilian Eggestein, 12 Michael Zetterer, 13 Leon Guwara, 14 Marvin Friedrich, 17 Geritt Holtmann, 18 Pascal Stenzel, 19 Gianluca Rizzo, 21 Nadiem Amiri, 22 Lukas Klunter

Coach: Frank Wormuth

Goal: Maximilian Dittgen 48

England: 13 Russell Griffiths (Colwyn Bay), 2 Ashley Smith-Brown (Manchester City), 3 Harry Toffolo (Norwich City), 4 Harrison Reed (Southampton), 5 Ola Aina (Chelsea), 8 Matt Grimes (c) (Swansea City), 9 Sam Gallagher (MK Dons), 10 Reece Brown (Birmingham City), 11 Brendon Barker (Manchester City), 19 Reece Burke (Bradford City), 20 Ryan Kent (Coventry City)

Subs: 7 Alex Gilliead (Newcastle United) for Brown 65, 16 Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur) for Reed 65, 15 Nathan Oduwa (Rangers) for Kent 78, 17 Tyler Walker (Nottingham Forest) for Gallagher 78, 14 Bryn Morris (Coventry City) for Grimes 78, 18 Cole Kpekawa (Queens Park Rangers) for Smith-Brown 85, 12 Mason Holgate (Everton) for Aina 85

Subs not used: 22 Ted Smith (Southend United)

Coach: Keith Downing

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor