Euro Beach Soccer League at the Spiaggia del Lido di Alghero, Italy 19 to 24 September 2023.
England’s men’s and women’s teams travelled to Alghero Italy for the 2023 European League Championships.
England’s women’s team arrived in Italy with a depleted team missing key players and a regular keeper with Haughton, Scadding and Harris all missing along with captain Kempson and Hillier being big losses too.
Before the woman's first game the players took the time to celebrate Katie James 50th England cap and only the third player to reach that millstone, everyone at EBSA and the wider beach soccer community congratulate Katie on this fantastic achievement and testament to Katie's commitment to England Beach Soccer.
England entertained Poland in their first game and the depleted squad showed with the team losing 4v1 and lacking attacking intent and this was very much the same in their following game where England faced old rivals Spain who were ready to pounce on England who looked shaky from the start.
Sadly the game quickly became about damage limitation with key England players in James, Clark, Barron and Buckingham unable to find any attacking rhythm but more sitting deep defending and it was Spain who came out victorious inflicting England’s biggest ever defeat losing 11v0 and making it a night to forget for Steve Blacks England with the team crashing out the tournament at the first two hurdles and finishing 9th overall their worst performance in any major tournament to date.
There was more joy for England’s men’s team who continue to develop with their young squad, the team looking to break into Group A for the first time in well over 10 years fell short again but this time was different, closer margins and across all five games Aaron Clarkes men’s faired well competing across every game with the smallest of margins and losing our to the Czech Republic and Lithuania who shocked everyone by qualifying for Group along with the Czechs.
England dominated periods of the games against both, missing key chances that would eventually comeback to haunt the team losing 4v2 to Lithuania after leading the game and losing 5v3 to the Czech’s.
Despite the loses England’s men won three other games scoring a total of 28 goals and picking up England’s biggest ever victory winning by elven goals to nil versus Malta with England skipper and coach Clarke scoring 9 goals during the event with Grossest on the score sheets with 7 goals.
Clarkes young team will build on the positives with the objective still firmly qualifying for group A but for now it close but feels so far.
England’s women’s now look to regroup and go again with an event in Spain looming and England men’s have one eye on Saudi Arabia and the NEOM Cup which England ladies will travel to and compete in too.
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