ENGLAND 1 – 8 Portugal
England’s final group game saw them take on the World Champions, Portugal. The Sand Lions needed maximum points in order to stand a chance of progressing in the competition.
As expected, Portugal started off on the front foot, forcing Humm into some early saves. Lawson and Bowes had their hands full, trying to keep Portugal’s strong attacking force quiet. It took until half way through the first period for the deadlock to be broken, Portugals Coimbra with a sweet curling effort. The period didn’t end without England having their chances too, Clarke, Temple and Day all had opportunities to equalise, with Portugals keeper doing well to keep them at bay. It seemed England would be entering the second period only a goal down but with a couple of seconds to go, a pass across the back fell short and Portugal had a 2 goal cushion. (0-2)
The second period saw history made, as Madjer scored his 1000th beach soccer goal. Despite the setback, England still pushed for their first goal of the game, Lawson coming close early on. As the Lions pushed for a goal, Portugal found more space in behind the and England eventually found themselves 5 goals down. Credit to the SandLions, as still they battled on, some good combination play saw them continue to threaten the Portuguese goal. The end of the period saw Clarke have a penalty saved, Belchior got his name on the scoresheet and Temple scored a brilliant solo goal, rifling the ball into the net after a good run. (1-6)
Depsite England being 5 goals down, they still proved a handful for the champions and had they finished their chances, the game could of well and truly been on. Day saw several of his bikes saved & O’Rourke showed he was one for the future, coming off the bench to outpace the Portuguese defence, with his ball across the box unable to find a white shirt. Goals from Belchior and Madjer saw the game finish 8-1 to Portugal but their were plenty of glimpses of what England could be capable off in the future!