England’s hopes of progressing to the next stage of the Futsal Euro came to an end in Bulgaria, as a second-placed finish in their preliminary round group saw them knocked out.
Despite a 6-1 victory over Malta and a 4-1 win over the hosts, it was a 5-1 defeat to Albania which ultimately cost Mike Skubala’s men their progress.
- Preliminary Round
- 24-27 January 2017
In the opening game, strikes from Raoni Medina (2), Luke Ballinger, Max Kilman (2) and William Wallace gave the Three Lions a comfortable start to the round.
But they found their progress stunted in the second game against an Albanian side whose players were drawn from professional clubs across Europe.
Two first-half errors led to a quickfire double to give Albania an advantage which they never surrendered, despite Ballinger pulling a goal back after the break, and they eventually ran out as 5-1 winners with England’s Stuart Cook also sent off for two cautions.
The final game with Bulgaria saw both teams battling it out for second-place and England ran out as deserved 4-1 winners thanks to a brace from Richard Ward and further strikes from Doug Reed and Ballinger.
Mark Croft (GK), Jonathan Sim (GK), Luke Ballinger, Robert Bettson, Stuart Cook, Russell Goldstein, Max Kilman, Liam Palfreman, Doug Reed, Raoni Medina, Agon Rexha, William Wallace, Richard Ward, James Webb