It was a tale of two games in Dijon this week, where England’s Futsal team played France on successive evenings.
Michael Skubala’s squad travelled on the back of their progress in World Cup qualifying earlier this year in search of a test, and that was exactly what they got against Les Bleus.
In Tuesday’s first game, an early goal from France’s Samir Alla saw them take the lead but the Futsal Lions found their feet and grew back into the game.
Goalkeeper Mark Croft was in impressive form to deal with anything else France threw at him while youngster Matt Overton had an accomplished debut.
And England were perhaps unfortunate to finish on the losing side after dominating the later stages of the game, creating opportunities with the use of a fly-keeper.
Wednesday’s game was a different matter though, as the hosts flew out of the traps to race into a 2-0 lead after just three minutes with both goals coming from Souheil Mouhoudine.
England looked strong on the counter attack but the French defence stayed resolute and they made it three just before half time with a strike from Sid Belhaj.
The second half began similar to the first, with France having the majority of possession but England created chances following from some clever play from William Wallace and James Webb.
But as Skubala’s side pushed hard to get back in the game, they were again caught on the counter attack with France scoring three late goals.
“The objective of this trip was to test ourselves against what I believe will be a top ten side over the next couple of years,” said Skubala.
“They have great individual players and are physically strong so for us it’s a perfect test.
“We also managed to give some good exposure of the level to newer players with two making their senior debut which is great
“I was pleased with our second-half performance in the first game and we could’ve scored some great goals.”
Game One: Mark Croft, Raoni Medina (C), Doug Reed, Liam Palfreeman, James Webb, William Wallace, Robbie Bettson, Dean Withers, Jonathan Alvarez, Matt Overton, Russell Goldstein, Calvin Dickson, Nathan Davis.
Subs unused: Jonny Sim, Joe Payne.
Game Two: Jonny Sim, Joe Payne, Raoni Medina (C), Doug Reed, Liam Palfreeman, James Webb, William Wallace, Robbie Bettson, Dean Withers, Jonathan Alvarez, Matt Overton, Russell Goldstein, Calvin Dickson, Nathan Davis.
Subs unused: Mark Croft