23 September 2019

England finish European Championships on a high after shoot-out triumph

England captain and penalty shoot-out hero Dan English hailed the togetherness of his squad as they secured third place at the IBSA European Championships in Rome.

English scored the decisive penalty as his side beat Turkey 1-0 on penalties after 40 minutes of close-fought action was unable separate the sides.

The Para Lions skipper also scored his team’s only goal during normal time with a stunning solo effort, before Emrah Ocal’s strike in the first minute of the second-half restored parity in the contest.

But English came to the fore once again in the shoot-out, sending his team home with a well-deserved third-place finish after slotting home from the spot.

And although disappointed about England not being in the final, English was full of praise for how his team acquitted themselves throughout the competition.

“I think that the boys that have performed over the tournament have done very well,” he said.

“It’s been a very hard schedule and we’ve done well working all together, both players and staff, to get to where we are today.

“There’s a bit of disappointment – we could, on another day, have taken Spain (in the semi-finals) and potentially taken more opportunities and scored to get into the final.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t, and they were better than us on the day at penalties.”

It was an impressive performance from Jon Pugh’s side in the third-place showdown, taking the lead in the 10th minute through the talismanic English.

The captain picked up the ball on the right-hand-side before dribbling past several Turkish players, creating some space and then firing emphatically into the top corner.

But Turkey rallied, starting the second period strongly as Ocal netted the equaliser with an equally impressive solo effort.

The experienced player picked up the ball just inside England’s half, skilfully turning before shooting low into the right-hand corner of Dylan Malpas’ goal.

England were forced to finish the game with just five men after Brandon Coleman and Darren Harris received red cards, nevertheless defending valiantly to take the game to penalties.

And despite Owen Bainbridge firing his penalty wide in the shoot-out, two Turkish misses were enough to ensure English’s powerful effort from the spot clinched the third and sent England home on a high.

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