England roared to Futsal victory in Northern Ireland this weekend, to retain the Home Nations trophy for another year.
Michael Skubala’s squad travelled to Newry for this year’s tournament, featuring Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, after winning the last edition in Edinburgh in 2017.
- Wales 1-3 England
- Scotland 1-3 England
- Northern Ireland 1-3 England
And the Futsal Lions began their campaign on Friday evening against first-time champions Wales, which was always going to be competitive game.
England started brightly and were composed in possession and dictated much of the play, with William Wallace and Raoni Medina showing their class before Stuart Cook opened the deadlock to put England ahead.
Wallace then made it two before half time from a clever set piece. Wales pulled a goal back after the break, but order was restored when Calvin Dickson found Medina at the back post for a cute finish to seal a 3-1 opening game win.
Game two saw England face a Scotland team who had beaten Northern Ireland the night before, with both nations knowing a win would see them go top of the group.
England dominated possession in the early stages, but it was Scotland who caught the Three Lions on the counter to take a 1-0 lead.
However, England’s hit back five minutes later through Liam Palfreeman after great work by Wallace.
The second half saw much of the same, with England dominating possession and Scotland playing on the counter. England’s James Webb scored to put his side ahead before Agon Rexha made it 3-1 to round off a good win for Skubala’s team.
That result set up a winner-takes-all affair against the hosts who had beaten Wales the night before.
Again, England dominating possession and took the game to Northern Ireland with Dean Withers scoring after good work by captain Medina.
Wallace made it 2-0 by getting on the end of a cleverly worked free-kick before Northern Ireland got one back on the counter. But Medina had the final say as he hit the net again to seal yet another 3-1 win.
"I’m really pleased we have been able to not only retain the Home Nations title but also get some very competitive games under our belts before January’s pre qualifiers, which we know are going to be a huge test for us," said Skubala.
"I’m really proud of all of the group, from the older players in the squad to the younger guys also.
"I thought we managed the tournament very well, which will be a key factor if we are to get out of the group stage in January."