England settle for third at World Cup

England/Harrogate Vets at the seniors world cup. (S0
England/Harrogate Vets at the seniors world cup. (S0

Harrogate Veterans, representing England in the Fisa Seniors World in Thailand took third place in the competition.

Although their final game finished 1-1 against the host nation Thailand, the organizers had decided against a penalty shoot-out and England were awarded the bronze medals based on their superior goal difference in the competition.

With Lee Henry and Mark Brady added to the growing injury list, the English Vets actually started with just two younger players.

The quality of the over 50s in the squad has proved crucial during the week and one of them, Garry Nelson headed them into a fifth-minute lead from a Blair Nixon corner.

Despite the early afternoon kick off ahead of the final, and playing the hosts in the intense sun, England should have had the game wrapped up in the first 20 minutes as their counter attacking produced a number of chances that were squandered.

The pacy Thai team continued to have more possession in the heat but the English were more threatening when they broke.

In the end the result hinged on two decisions by the same Thai assistant referee who kept his flag down as the veterans’ defence appealed for an offside they didn’t get for the equaliser.

Then Dave Regis was harshly judged to be offside as he fired home what he thought was a second half winner.

England Veterans finished the competition with the second best playing record, only bettered by the eventual winners Iran who beat Armenia comfortably 3-0 in the final.

“This was despite an injury list that saw them without five key players for virtually the duration of the tournament,” said manager Paul Bell.

“It just showed the quality and depth of the squad and our performances against Iran and Thailand at the end of the week were outstanding.

“Obviously there is a bit of ‘what ifs’ around the injury situation and the opening game.

“But we are coming home with a medal and a lot of pride in what we achieved.”