Para Football
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The FA

Rutter relishing underdog tag

CP star says England need to up their game against Iran in Wednesday's semi-final

Tuesday 19 Sep 2017

The mood in the squad is good after Monday’s win over the USA, which was a result that I felt we deserved.

After getting off to a flier with big scores in our opening games against Japan and Venezuela, and then a convincing 5-0 win over Holland, we’d scored 25 goals and conceded none in the group stage so we definitely had a bit of a reality check against America.

England v Iran
  • ICFPF CP World Championship
  • Semi-final
  • 7.30pm, Wednesday 20 September 2017
  • San Luis, Argentina

It was a hard game against a side we’ve played a lot over the last few years. We last played them at the World Championship in 2015, albeit a weaker USA team, and beat them 10-0 so that shows just how far they’ve come since then. Fair play to them.

They were a match for us throughout the game, they were organised, strong and always had a threat from set pieces but we had to stand up to that.

We dug deep and showed our character and I think we deserved to win. If you see the game stats, that’s fairly clear but their keeper had a real worldy to keep them in the match for so long.

But we knew if we stayed patient and in control, our quality would shine through and that’s what happened in the end.

We’ll need to do that again in the semi-final, and a bit more, because we’ll need to be even better against Iran in the semi-final.

We’ve never played against them in all of my time with the England squad, but they’re a top, top team. I’ve watched them closely over the years, in the Paralympics they were absolutely sensational and they’ve been really good out here as well.

The FA ;

Against Brazil on Monday, they fought hard to win the game and they’re a very able bodied and quick team with lots of experience, so we’ll definitely be the underdog.

We like it that way though and hopefully our fighting spirit will shine through.

The belief and the confidence is there, and so is the experience as most of the squad have been together for quite a few years and a lot of us went to the Paralympics in Brazil last year.

That was an experience which can’t be replicated, it was so high pressure and watched by millions and I think that’s helped us in this competition, even down to the details like travelling to South America and playing in the heat and conditions out here.

More importantly though, this is a really good squad. There’s only seven players who can start and in previous years you could hand pick the team who would start.

Nowadays, you can’t do that as we have strength in depth and a much stronger squad than we have done before. We have players who can come off the bench to make an impact. And I’m not just saying that because I happened to do it against the USA either!

I had to miss the first two games out here due to suspension, which came after I was sent off in the last game of the Paralympics. It was something really silly of me at the time, and I was given a two game ban which meant it was hard to sit and watch the first two games out here.

I just had to be patient and wait for my chance and then try to make an impact, which thankfully I’ve been able to do and hopefully we can keep that going on Wednesday in the semi-final.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels