England’s Women's deaf Futsal team secured fourth place at the European Championship in Finland this week.
After making an excellent start to their campaign with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands thanks to a goal from Louise Hogan, the Lionesses followed that up with an emphatic 7-2 win against Denmark after a hat-trick from captain Emma Brown, a double from Lhathini Pushpaligham and a strike from Ceara Toal.
And the coaching team of Luciana Da Silva and Tony Elliott saw their squad secure a spot in the quarter final after an equally impressive 6-0 win against Russia, as Toal, Brown (2), Asnath Losala, Victoria Wenman and Hogan ensured the Lionesses topped their group.
It took an extra-time 5-3 win against the Republic of Ireland to take them into the semi-final in what was a thrilling tie in Tampere.
After falling 2-0 down in the early stages, goals from Hogan and Brown squared things up at 2-2 before the break and then Hogan put the Lionesses ahead only for Ireland to level things again and take the tie to extra time.
But strikes from Pushpaligham and Hogan’s hat-trick goal proved enough to seal their victory and set up a semi-final meeting with Germany.
Unfortunately though, the Lionesses were turned over by 7-1. Despite the scoreline, it was an even game in the opening period until Germany took a two-goal advantage with 15 minutes played.
They were clinical with their opportunities while England saw shots saved or fired off-target. Fatigue began to show and Germany scored three on the counter in quick succession, before making it six just before half time.
With an eye on the third-place match against Spain, England rested weary legs and players on yellow cards in the second half as Germany managed to add a seventh before Losala earned England a more-than-deserved goal.
There was no shortage of goals in the third place match either, with Spain running out as 9-3 winners as goals from Brown and a brace from Toal just weren’t enough to seal bronze.
The Lionesses will return home with pride though, having enjoyed a successful trip and outcome to the tournament.
The squad: Molly Ripley, Jennifer Evans, Zara Musker, Louise Hogan, Lhathini Pushpaligham, Victoria Wenman, Asnath Losala, Ceara Toal, Emma Brown, Lucy Durham, Rebecca Kemp, Nikita Hitchen