U16 World Cup Diary - Day Three - Play-off Push!
A crop of England's talented Under 16s recently embarked on a trip to Schijndel in Holland to take part at the 2012 U16 Korfball World Cup.
This is the final installment of Under 16 Squad Manager Lisa Swain's diary of England's from the tournament, with England looking for a berth in the 5th/6th place play-off.
In the team meeting Danny and Heidi explained to the squad that today was about winning and claiming the 5th spot that they thought we could achieve.
The game against Russia started as planned; defensively we were fantastic and Russia struggled to put up a shot and in attack, just like yesterday we created shooting opportunities and thankfully we took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Tom Lake and Blake. Russia pulled one back from a great distance shot. Russia were then awarded a penalty and levelled the game at 2-2 by half time.
In the second half we truly started to believe we could win this game and stretched the lead to 7-4. Another goal from Russia in the dying seconds was not enough to take this game away from us and at last, England were victorious winning the game 7-5. Everyone was on a high and the 5th – 6th play-off’s was within our sights!
The next game was against Hungary and again we started strongly and took a 2-0 lead with a great shot by Tom Kim and another from Blake. A bitter blow was dealt to our hopes when Tom Lake fell on his ankle and had to leave the game just before half time. Half Time Score-5-2.
The loss of Tom Lake changed the game; we lost our focus and gave the ball away time and time again. These silly mistakes allowed Hungary back into the game and they managed to pull it back to 6-6. Everyone in the England camp was absolutely devastated, now was the biggest test; could the players beat the mental battle?
The draw against Hungary meant we needed the Czech's to beat Russia to secure our spot in the 5th-6th playoff. Unfortunately for England the Czech’s didn't put up much of a fight, as they had already qualified and a win for Russia put them through ahead of us.
Danny and Heidi told the players that what had happened was now in the past and now the focus must be on winning the final game.
The team started the 7th-8th place playoff against Hungary with confidence, both divisions working hard and communicating well. England again took an early lead with a nice shot from Rachael. Hungary were struggling to create any opportunities but equalised with a lucky distance shot.
By half time the game was level at 3-3. Another shot from Tom Holder and England were back in front, Blake then converted another penalty and a nicely timed running in shot took the score to 5-3 in England’s favour. England kept possession in the closing stages and a screamer of a goal from Rachael right on the buzzer sealed another victory for England 7-4.
The players gave their all for two hard days of competition and for a squad of 16 only four had played in a tournament of this level, they did their country proud.
A special thank you must go to Heidi (assistant coach) who originally was only going to help out part time, but has attended every training session and trips to help prepare the players despite playing in the National League herself and to Danny who took this role on top of being the full time academy coach.
If you make a silly mistake; you will be punished, if you don’t finish your shots; you will be punished, if you don’t protect the ball; you will be punished, if you don’t stay focused; you will be punished, if you let your head drop; you will be punished.
Every player at the tournament has learnt these points; which is something they can take with them and will make them all a better player for their club, county and country in the future.
Well Done England!