U17s stunned by Sweden

England will be playing for third place in their final match of the Nordic Tournament on Saturday after they were hit for three by Sweden at the Mosevej Stadium.

Although the scoreline suggests otherwise, this was a close encounter and England’s response to falling two behind inside the opening 15 minutes will fill head coach Dan Micciche with much encouragement.

England 0-3 Sweden

Nordic U17 Tournament
Mosevej Stadium, Kolding, Demark
Thursday 31 August 2014

There is no denying though that his youngsters got off to a poor start. A long goal-kick was punted upfield by Viktor Goranzon, bouncing deep inside the England half as Reece Oxford misjudged his header, the ball looping over him and straight into the path of Junior Kamana – and he raced through to finish low and hard past Leeds United’s William Huffer in goal.

Almost immediately England carved open the Sweden defence as they looked to draw level. Yan Dhanda slipped the ball in behind the full-back for the onrushing Trent Arnold to meet, but he pulled his strike wide past the opposition post.

The game was becoming quite open, with Sweden’s Zackarias Faour whizzing a strike wide from 20 yards following a counter attack – but his side did find the net again on 13 minutes as they doubled their advantage. Kamana’s inswinging corner from the left was whipped high towards the back post, evading a host of bodies along the way, and it sailed into the inside netting to make it two.

Despite trailing by two, England they refused to go against their beliefs as they continued to pass and probe their way back into the tie with Liverpool’s Herbie Kane and Sunderland’s Daniel Wright the architects, and they began to dominate as we reached the half way point of the half.

After a neat move forward, Yan Dhanda collected the ball and tried his luck with an effort straight at the keeper from 30 yards.

At the 20-minute mark Micciche’s youngsters looked like they had settled into their stride, with Wright and Kane dropping deep to collect the ball and attempting to move it forwards with some neat triangle football down the right especially, and they enjoyed  success as Arnold was fed in behind the defence on several occasions.

The impressive Kane was next to try his luck, finishing off a neat passing move with a low strike towards goal from 18 yards – but somehow Goranzon got down to his bottom corner to tip it with his fingertips around the post.

He was at it again moments later, denying Dhanda again after the Liverpool attacker hit a powerful long range drive.

By this point, led by Kane who oozed class throughout, the Young Lions were firmly in the ascendency as they controlled possession for long periods, moving Sweden around the pitch at will, but the killer touch up front was still lacking.

England did create a further chance for left-back Vashon Neufville just before the break, but once again Goranzon saved his side.

No changes were made by either side at the break, with a fired up England starting brightly after the restart. They attacked immediately, Edwards dancing through the backline and striking a stinging effort at Goranzon.

Micciche’s men resembled a boxer with a mean jab, slowly wearing their opponents down, but they just seemed to be lacking the knockout punch that would bring a deserved goal.

In an attempt to find a breakthrough Sadou Diallo and Admiral Muskwe, scorer of two against Iceland, were introduced on 50 minutes.

Unfortunately they were unable to make any impact before Sweden struck them with a hammer blow five minutes after their introduction – substitute Nicolaus Elfstrom finding himself with a clean run on goal and making no mistake with his finish.

With first place in the group now seemingly out of reach, England had to be wary of the threat that they could lose second spot in the group on goal difference.

Despite the wind being taken out of their sails, they continued to attack and they came close to reducing the deficit – Muskwe hitting one wide before Marcus Edwards jinked outside then in, forcing Goranzon into another save.

Further half-chances fell their way as they continued to look for a goal to match their efforts, but the closest they came was through Kane with the final kick of the match – his curling 25-yard free-kick palmed away by that man Goranzon.

Despite the scoreline, there were some encouraging signs from England, who know that not many teams will be able to beat them if they can replicate their 20-minute spell at the end of the first half.

England (4-2-3-1): 13 William Huffer (Leeds United); 2 Trent Arnold (Liverpool; captain), 5 Darnell Johnson (Leicester City), 6 Reece Oxford (West Ham United), 3, Vashon Neufville (West Ham United); 4 Herbie Kane (Liverpool), 14 Daniel Wright Sunderland); 12 Kyle Edwards (West Brom), 10 Marcus Edwards (Tottenham Hotspur), 8 Yan Dhanda (Liverpool); 9 Jonathan Leko (West Brom).

Substitutes: 11 Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City) for Leko 50, 16 Sadou Diallo (Manchester City) for K Edwards 50, 17 Edward Francis (Manchester City) for Arnold 59, 15 Todd Cantwell (Norwich City) for Dhanda 64, 7 Lucas N’Mecha (Manchester City)for M Edwards 70.

Subs not used: 1 Taye Ashby-Hammond (Fulham), 18 Callum Slattery (Southampton)  

Head coach: Dan Micciche

Sweden (4-3-2-1): 1 Viktor Goranzon; 6 Felix Olsson Lundgren, 4 Dennis Hadzikadunic, 7 Thomas Isherwood, 5 Anton Kralj; 15 Zackarias Faour, 11 Oskar Jansson (C), 8 Adam Hellborg; 13 Junior Kamana, 9 Svante Ingelsson; 18 Isak Redzic

Substitutes: 3 Nicolaus Elfstrom for Kralj 47, 10 Dusan Jajic for Ingelsson 57, 17 Alan Naib for Hellborg, 14 Besard Sabovic for Kamana 70, 16 Isac Lidberg for Redzic 70, 2 Filip Tagstrom for Isherwood 74.

Subs not used: 12 Marko Johansson,

Goals: Kamana 2, 13, Elfstrom 55

Head coach: Roland Nilsson