Qantas Young Socceroos downed by England

The Qantas Young Socceroos suffered their first defeat in their pre FIFA U-20 World Cup tour of Cyprus, losing 2-0 to England.

Check out photos of the game

The Qantas Young Socceroos suffered their first defeat in their pre FIFA U-20 World Cup tour of Cyprus, losing 2-0 to England.

Coach Jan Versleijen selected an entirely different side to the one that defeated Trinidad and Tobago two days ago, with Chris Herd and Sean Rooney making their Qantas Young Socceroos debuts while Sam Munro was handed the captain-s armband.

Also included in the 80 minute hit-out at the Alpha Sports Centre in Larnaca were the three stand-in players James Virgili (Newcastle Jets) and AIS duo Trent Sainsbury and Brendan Hamill.

Unfortunately the Qantas Young Socceroos conceded as early as the second minute when Tottenham striker Jon Obika volleyed home a corner from close range.

With the game divided into quarters, Versleijen had the rare opportunity to deliver a quarter-time team talk and it paid dividends as the team produced a much more assured display in the second term, with Ben Kantarovski forcing a good save from keeper Elliot Parish.

The improvement continued and Nathan Elasi struck the upright in the 63rd minute after a clever build up from the Qantas Young Socceroos.

He was unfortunate to concede a penalty just five minutes later when he was deemed to have bumped midfielder Adam Clayton in the box.

Sam Baldock calmly converted the penalty past keeper Alex Cisak to make it 2-0 for England, who were playing their only lead up game prior to the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

“You always like to win the game, but if you look at what we got out of this game it was more important than the score,-- Versleijen said.

“If you look our the line up we had six players who are eligible for the next Young Socceroos team, so that was a positive for us, and playing against England is always good.

“This game was decided by details, a goal against from a corner and then a penalty. If you see the field play, they were a bit more consistent but we had two or three good chances, which at this level you need to score at least one goal from those.

“This game was tactically more difficult (than the Trinidad and Tobago game), England is more patient and more organised, where the Trinidad game was more an opportunist-s game, but it-s good to come up against different styles of play because that-s how it will be at the World Cup, coming up against Czech Republic, Costa Rica and then Brazil.

“It was good to see pretty much everyone get through the whole match and the midfield is starting to understand better the things they have to do.

“Overall I-m happy with the progress, building up from behind, the way the midfield-s starting to work together, we just need to do a bit more into the final third, in particular getting balls into our striker.

“Rooney hasn-t played with this team but once they realised how he plays and used him more we started creating some half chances.--

Despite the game kicking off at 10am local time, the players still players in 30°C-plus heat and donned ice vests to cool them at half time.

“The conditions are part of playing in Egypt and the reason we-re here in Cyprus,-- Versleijen said.

“They-re handling it okay and you can see the way they-re getting more used to it.

“But even in these conditions you can control the game by minimising your mistakes and keeping the ball, then you don-t have to chase it and you don-t lose energy.--

The Qantas Young Socceroos round off their preparations with a game against the USA tomorrow (11.30pm AEST).

All Qantas Young Socceroos matches at the FIFA U-20 World Cup will be broadcast live and exclusive on SBS TV (see for full broadcast details).

Match Details:

Qantas Young Socceroos 0 England (U-20) 2 (J Obika 2-, S Baldock 68-) Saturday 19 September, 2009 Alpha Sports Centre, Larnaca, Cyprus