Porcher hat-trick and Irons brace helps England CP to 8-1 win over Canada
England Cerebral Palsy team got their 2022 IFCPF World Cup campaign off to a great start with an impressive 8-1 victory over Canada.
A hat-trick from David Porcher, a brace by Liam Irons and goals from Harry Baker, Matthew Robinson - his first for his country - and James Blackwell helped England go top of Group A after the first round of matches.
The Para Lions’ game followed the opening match of Group A earlier in the day, as the Netherlands’ Luc Pierre scored the only goal of the game against Venezuela.
It meant England went into their opening game knowing victory by more than one goal would put them top of their group.
There was a familiar feel to most of Andy Smith’s starting line-up, with long-standing goalkeeper Giles Moore having captain Matt Crossen in front of him, the midfield consisting of Porcher, Baker and Irons, and Dale Smith in attack.
But there was a start for Mason Dunbar in defence, in what is his first major tournament for England CP.
With the Para Lions ranked fifth in the world and Canada 12th, Smith’s side were favourites heading into the contest and had two good chances inside the opening five minutes.
First, Irons beat his man on the edge of the box, cutting in from the right, before forcing the goalkeeper into a good save and then moments later, Porcher also brought out an impressive stop from close range.
But England’s constant pressure paid off soon after when Porcher produced a lovely swivel and strike to make it 1-0.
The advantage was then doubled less than a minute later when a neat ball with the outside of Crossen’s boot saw the goalkeeper fumble the ball into the path of Irons.
And England made it 3-0 just after the quarter of an hour mark when a superb strike from Porcher found the back of the net, although it was unclear whether Dale Smith got a touch on its way.
— England Football (@EnglandFootball) May 3, 2022
Irons’ wing-play from the right was a threat throughout and he scored a stunning fourth goal on the stroke of half-time when he cut inside and sent a long-range effort arrowing into the top corner.
Porcher was also posing problems for Canada from a central position and it was his low cross which was turned in by Baker shortly after the interval for his first goal at a World Cup.
It then became six inside the final ten minutes when a shot by Blackwell was fumbled into the path of fellow replacement Robinson to tap home.
Blackwell was again involved as he set up Porcher for his hat-trick and England’s seventh. And then it was roles reversed for the eighth a minute later, as the experienced midfielder poked home the former Hibernian youngster’s low shot.
Canada’s players and staff did have their moment to celebrate with three minutes remaining when a cross from the left was headed in by Shaun Etherington to make the final score 8-1.
Next up for England CP is Venezuela on Thursday, with kick-off scheduled for 11.30am BST (12.30pm local time), and you can watch the game live at eSports+.
This is Football: Liam Irons x Dylan
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CP football consists of seven players per team and takes place over two halves of 30 minutes.
Each team must have at least one player who is classified as FT1, which is those with the more severe impairments, on the field at all times (or they must remove one of their players) and they cannot have more than one person who is class FT3 playing at one time.
For England CP, star goalkeeper Moore was their FT1 player in the starting XI against Canada, whilst substitute Sam Dewhirst is the only player in the squad with a FT3 classification.
Like Dunbar, substitutes Dewhirst, Aaron Lucas and Cameron Osburn are all appearing in their first major tournaments for England CP.
You are permitted to make five substitutions during the 60 minutes of play, which must take place during three replacement windows.
CP football and pan-disability football is played across the country and you can find disability football in your area via the EnglandFootball.com website.
Several members of the England CP squad only discovered CP football in their 20s and last year the FA launched the landmark Football Your Way plan, which looks to help develop, improve and raise awareness of disability football in England.
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England: 1 Giles Moore; 6 Matt Crossen ©, 9 Mason Dunbar; 4 Harry Baker, 3 David Porcher, 2 Liam Irons; 7 Dale Smith
Substitutes: 8 Sam Dewhirst for Smith 16, 5 Matthew Robinson for Baker 39, 11 James Blackwell for Dunbar 47
Substitutes not used: 10 Aaron Lucas, 12 Cameron Osburn, 13 Reegan McMillan, 14 Ryan Kay
Head coach: Andy Smith
Goals: David Porcher 7, 14, 55, Liam Irons 9, 30+4, Harry Baker 34, Matthew Robinson 51, James Blackwell 56
Bookings: Liam Irons 28