Hillingdon stars Czech out of six-a-side Euros
Three Lions impress despite being knocked out in quarters
FOUR Hillingdon heroes were part of one of England’s most successful European Championship six-a-side campaign.
The Three Lions matched their best ever European Championship effort before they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by the favourites Czech Republic.
Striker Sam Kanani, midfielder Omar Mohammed and goalkeeper Ash Bakoos from Hayes, along with Mo Hashi from Uxbridge, travelled to the Hungarian city of Szekesfehervar.
UKMA (UK Minifootball Association) national teams director Pete Mitchell reckons the players thoroughly deserved their spot on the plane. He said: “Competition was fierce, but they are all an experienced bunch of players and will be looking to pass that knowledge on to the newer members of the squad.”
During the group stages, England opened their campaign with a commanding 4-1 win over Cyprus with Rob Ursell grabbing a brace along with goals from teammates Kirk Herbert and Lucas Totti.
This was followed by a 2-0 victory over Greece to ensure England a safe passage into the knockout stages before they lost 4-1 to an impressive Croatia side in their final group game – although the match held no significance as England had already qualified.
The highlight of the tournament was inflicting a first defeat on Moldova in the last 16, who had been victorious in the previous five Championships, with a 3-2 victory thanks to a lastminute goal from Herbert.
England had twice taken the lead through Sam Murphy and Totti before the Moldovans pegged them back.
Going into the quarter-finals and the odds were once again against the English as they took on the much fancied Czech side who eventually emerged 3-2 winners. England twice levelled through Herbert and Totti, but their opponents put themselves ahead for a third time and managed to hold on for victory.
One consolation for England was Totti’s individual recognition after the 22 year-old was given the tournament’s MVP award after some match-winning performances.
n ‘FIERCE COMPETITION’: England’s six-a-side squad and (above left) in action