England’s Futsal team were narrowly beaten by Germany on Sunday, in a historic occasion for the small-sided game in Hamburg.
In front of a sell-out crowd of 2,510 and shown live on German TV, the Three Lions took on Germany in their first official Futsal international and the first of two back-to-back friendlies with the teams meeting again on Tuesday.
Germany started the stronger and made a number of direct attacks before England came into the game, hitting the woodwork through Stuart Cook.
Germany 5-3 England
Sunday 30 October 2016
Inselparkhalle Arena, Hamburg
By Mike Brown
But it was the hosts who took the lead when the English defence allowed Timo Heinze after seven minutes to nip in behind them to put Germany one up.
Germany continued to unsettle England and went further ahead 10 minutes later to the delight of the home fans, with a shot from the right scored by Timo Di Giorgio.
This shocked England into action and they pressed strongly for the remainder of the half, as Doug Reed shot from outside the area to reduce the arrears on the stroke of half-time.
Futsal is an unforgiving sport, requiring 100 percent concentration and Reed scored again to level things up before the break, following a goalkeeping error by Yalcin Ceylani allowing him to sweep the ball into the net for 2-2.
England's Stuart Cook takes a corner kick against Germany
England went into the half-time break hopeful that their Futsal skills and fitness would catch the Germans out, but it was not to be.
Christopher Wittig took advantage of another slip in the defence to put the Germans 3-2 up and they twisted the knife even further with another goal in the 30th minute scored by Leonard Hartmann, after he evaded a tackle in midfield and calmly slotted the ball home.
The Germans then added a fifth in the 32nd minute, with Michael Meyer hammering the ball into the roof the net from distance.
England recovered to get back into the game, pressing hard with James Webb taking over as ‘fly’ goalkeeper to give them an extra man advantage.
And the tactic paid off when Webb scored England’s third goal with only two minutes left on the clock.
It was a disappointing result, with England not playing to their full potential but there is another game to play with the opportunity to level the series.
England were not helped with injuries to skipper Raoni Medina and William Wallace, preventing him from flying out with the party.
England Squad: Thomas Dennis (Loughborough), Mark Croft (Loughborough), Stuart Cook (Wrexham), Raoni Medina (London Helvecia), Richard Ward (Manchester), James Webb (Loughborough), Luke Ballinger (Melksham), Max Kilman (London Genesis), Robert Betson (York City), Doug Reed (Futsal Dinamo), Russell Goldstein (London Helvecia), Joe Kenny (Loughborough), Jon Adams (Melksham) and Jonny Sim (London Helvecia)