England U21s edged out by Germany

Englands Josh Pavis in action

England U21 1         -    2      Germany U21
Peter Scott 70 FG                    Christan Von Ehren 17 FG
                                             Malte Hellwig 58 FG

Match one was a very even and well-contested affair with the Germans, unusually content to defend deep with a half court press and England trying to break this down. This left the Germans to threaten on the counter attack, and this was how their goals came about, (one in each half) with turnovers on the half way and an overload of numbers on quick attacks.

England’s patient approach led to good goal scoring opportunities in open play and from penalty corners, but they lacked the cutting edge to finish the opportunities created and the German goalkeeper, Lennart Kuppers, was outstanding, especially at penalty corners, denying England repeatedly from their six set piece chances.

England improved their penetration of the German defence in the second half and created numerous circle entries and with the Germans defending deeper and deeper and at one stage in last 7 minutes down to 9 players with two yellow cards, England found a goal from Peter Scott, but it came too late to press for the equalizer.

Kwan Browne, England Coach:
Our execution today overall was below our expected standards. Having created numerous circle entries and penalty corner opportunities we will have to be more clinical as we progress through the programme. It is not unlucky that we lost, as it was in our own hands today and it will be in our hands tomorrow to rectify.

England U21 1 -1 Germany U21 
Ed Horler 53 (FG)   Kai Aichinger 35 (PC)

England started very brightly and troubled the German defence repeatedly with excellent one-on-one eliminations by the forwards and midfield players. Although frequently achieving circle entries during this period, and one penalty corner, they failed to capitalise or create enough clear goal scoring opportunities.

The Germans recovered from the early onslaught and started to threaten themselves with quick counter attacks. England coped with these better than the previous day and managed the threat more effectively. A period of pressure at the end of the first half saw the Germans control territory high up in the England half and a series of penalty corners were awarded. Just on half time they scored from their second penalty corner with Aichinger flicking high into the net.

The Germans maintained their dominance early in the second half but England defended resolutely and gradually fought their way back into the game. In the 53rd minute James Albery advanced down the left touchline before delivering a long diagonal pass, behind the German defence, from just over the half way line, and Ed Horler was on hand to slide in and deflect it past the German goalkeeper. This energised the England side and a period of domination followed through to the end of the game. One penalty corner induced a save followed by a rebound that hit the post but the German defence survived this period. The game ended one a piece and is nicely set up for a final game.

Kwan Browne, England Coach:
One of the key focuses for today was to establish a winning culture, even when things are not going for us, and to a large extent we achieved that today. The boys showed good character to come from behind to deservedly earn a draw. Still many improvement areas to come in the attacking areas of the field but a much improved overall performance.

England U21 2            -        2       Germany U21 
Peter Scott 52 FG                             Alexander Inderthal, 6, PC
Josh Pavis 66 PC                             Nicolas Proske 55 FG

Once again a very even and physical contest with both teams experiencing periods of ascendency and pressure. Germany started brightly and had the best of the early exchanges and went ahead through a penalty corner flicked high left in the 6th minute by Alexander Inderthal. England got back into the game in the middle sector of the half and, whist gaining circle entries, they found creating clear cut chances difficult and lacked precision in this area. Germany finished the half strongly and had a sequence of three penalty corners in a row that the England corner defensive unit thwarted with brave running and good goalkeeping from Toby Reynolds-Cotterill.

The second half saw England pressurise the German defenders more effectively and created turnovers and counter attacking opportunities, however Germany also carried a serious threat on the break when ball was given away by England’s midfield and attack. England created further scoring opportunities but had shots blocked and saved by German defenders and the goalkeeper. As the half progressed England committed more numbers forward and the game opened up, with Germany threatening on the break and England attaining periods of territorial domination. It was from one of these periods that the equaliser came, with James Sutcliffe advancing from half back down the right flank before delivering a flat backhand cross in to the circle that Peter Scott jumped in front of his defender to deflect into the goal.

With England back at 1-1 the Germans stepped up their intensity and had a chance strike the post before they re-gained the lead after a midfield carry into the top right of the circle and a backhand shot was deflected in at the right post by Nicolas Proske. England continued to bounce back and created further pressure all over the field. This was rewarded in the 65th minute with the award of a penalty corner. This was flicked low right by Josh Pavis and found its way in off the outside of the German goalkeepers kicker.

At 2-2 England pushed forward to try to take the win and removed their goalkeeper to improve the chances of this. To an extent this was successful and possession was recovered repeatedly in the German half, but in their enthusiasm England tried to force passes into the German D and this allowed them to absorb and relieve the pressure. The game finished 2-2 and these teams meet again in two weeks time in Moers, Germany for two more matches.

Kwan Browne, England Coach:
A pleasing performance today and progress throughout the camp, with a new U21 group, with several players experiencing this level of hockey for the first time. There is still much to work on in preparation for a World Cup in India in December, but positive signs within the squad of good skill levels, improving strategic understanding and a will to win that has seen us come from behind in all three of these test matches.