England’s U19 Futsal squad returned from Croatia after finishing in third spot of their UEFA Euro Qualifying round.
The Young Futsal Lions were handed a tough group, in what was England’s first experience of the competition, as they were grouped with higher-ranked nations in Croatia, Italy and Slovakia.
And Pete Vallance’s squad got off to a flying start with an impressive 2-1 victory over Italy in their opening game.
After a goal-less first half, the game sprung into life when Jordan Deer fired England ahead only for Italy to level things up through Achilli three minutes later.
But with less than 30 seconds remaining, England capitalised on an Italian error, allowing captain Jared Rand to score the winner.
The second game against the hosts didn’t go quite the same way though, as Croatia took an early lead and then scored three after the break, with England unable to convert the chances they created.
In the third and final game with Slovakia, England knew a win would be enough to seal second place but with the game tightly poised going into the final moments, an unfortunate own goal settled this closely contested game in Slovakia’s favour, with both teams neutralising each other tactically.
“It was an incredible learning experience for us in the UEFA U19s Futsal Euros,” said Vallance after the trip.
“Picking up our first victory against Italy in our opening game was a highlight to savor and we knew Croatia playing in their home country would always be a tough game.
“But in tournament Futsal at this level, it’s fine margins and taking chances in those games defines moments.
“The players represented the shirt with ultimate pride and honor throughout every game which was evident for all to see
“We demonstrated some strong performances across the competition to set the bar extremely high for the next group of U19s to compete in the next Euros cycle leaving a lasting legacy.”