Captain Crossen saves the day as England CP defeat Argentina
A late goal from captain Matt Crossen helped England Cerebral Palsy team beat Argentina 2-1 and ensure they have the chance to feature in the fifth-place play-off at the IFCPF World Cup this weekend.
Defeat to Iran in Monday’s quarter-final meant England could now only finish between fifth and eighth, depending on how they got on in matches against Argentina on Thursday and another ranking match at the weekend.
Argentina had taken the lead in Salou, Barcelona, through Matiaz Fernandez Romano but David Porcher scored yet another goal in first-half injury-time to equalise for England.
And in the final minutes of the match, captain Crossen fired in the winner to book a place in the fifth-place play-off against either the Republic of Ireland or the Netherlands, who are playing on Thursday evening.
Cerebral Palsy football consists of two halves of 30 minutes and is played with seven players on a team.
Each side must have at least one player who is classified as FT1, which is those with the more severe impairments, on the pitch at all times and no more than one person who is class FT3 playing.
England went into the match without two of their players, as Dale Smith remains sidelined with the injury he picked up in the opening match of the tournament and Liam Irons was suspended due to his red card in the 3-1 defeat to Iran.
It meant head coach Andy Smith made just the one change to his starting line-up against Argentina, as Mason Dunbar came into defence and James Blackwell was pushed into the more advanced position vacated by Irons.
Goalkeeper Giles Moore had been in stunning form against Iran even in defeat and he made a fine stop to deny a long-range effort from Carlos Leonardo Carrizo midway through the opening half.
But he could do little about Fernandez Romano’s powerful header following a great cross by Hernando German Romussi.
England didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser though as Porcher beat his man with a fine first touch before drilling a long-range strike past the goalkeeper.
Porcher then forced a good save early in the second half and Blackwell cleared expertly off his own line to keep his side level, as the teams looked set for extra-time.
But with just a few minutes remaining, Porcher’s long free-kick was fumbled by the Argentina goalkeeper and Crossen was able to smash the ball into the bottom corner, to book England’s progression.
Next up for Smith’s side will be either the Republic of Ireland or the Netherlands, who England CP drew 1-1 with in the group stages, in the fifth-place play-off on Sunday, with kick-off at 11.30am BST (12.30pm local time).
England: England: 1 Giles Moore; 6 Matt Crossen ©, 9 Mason Dunbar; 11 James Blackwell, 3 David Porcher, 4 Harry Baker; 8 Sam Dewhirst
Substitutes not used: 5 Matthew Robinson, 10 Aaron Lucas, 12 Cameron Osburn, 13 Reegan McMillan, 14 Ryan Kay
Head coach: Andy Smith
Goals: David Porcher 30+1’, Matt Crossen 60’
Bookings: Sam Dewhirst 37’, Matt Crossen 60+4’
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