Eastick admits England U19 paid for poor start

England U19 boss Brian Eastick admits they paid for their poor start against the Czech Republic after they were eliminated from the European Championships following last night's 3-0 victory over Greece.

Manchester City's Ben Mee put England in front, with Daniel Sturridge and Freddie Sears adding the others to give England a win which ended up coming one match too late.

"I have a very disappointed dressing room because the aim was to win this tournament," reflected Eastick. "But we got off to a bad start with what was a below-par performance, and although we have done well since then, unfortunately it has not been enough.

"Ben Mee was excellent, he scored a great goal from a set play to put us in front and once Daniel Sturridge had scored the penalty, Greece would always have to chase the game and in the end we were worthy winners."

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Victory and performance were exactly what Eastick believed his side capable of when the tournament began.

However, the inexplicable failure against the Czech Republic and an inability to turn their dominance against Italy into something better than a goalless draw leaves Eastick's team flying home earlier than scheduled.

"There is a definite feeling inside the dressing room that we are a better side than Italy, yet they have gone through and we are going out," he said.

"But that is one of the lessons we have learnt from this competition. It is a tournament and in most instances you need five points to get through. The fact is we have fallen one short."

The one silver lining for England is that by finishing third in their group they have qualified for next year's World Under-20 finals in Egypt which Eastick believes will provide another welcome test.

"It could give us a chance to play teams like Argentina, Brazil and Australia as well as all the other European sides which will be a fantastic experience," he said.

"I suppose the only problem is a potential conflict of interests.

"The tournament is held in September and I honestly believe a number of the players in this squad will be playing regular first-team football by then."

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