Humphreys scores, Paez assists & Curd saves a penalty: International Roundup #2

Welcome to the second part of the international roundup series. In case you missed it, check out the first piece, but let’s get straight into it. England’s U17s had their final game of the Euros group stages, while the second game of the U20 World Cup finished last night for all the nations.

England U17s 0-0 Netherlands U17s

England had already qualified for the Euros Quarter-Finals, and so there was a bit of expected rotation with games coming thick and fast – Ted Curd, Somto Boniface and Kiano Dyer started, while regular starters Josh Acheampong and Michael Golding were rested.

For most of the 2022/23 season, with exception to the last few games where Hassan Sulaiman experimented a little, Kiano played in a deeper 6 role at Chelsea. In this game for England though, he was playing much higher up the pitch and almost in the 10. It brought out a different side of his game, as instead of ‘dictating the tempo’ from deep, he had to be a bit more creative. It also meant that he was given big pressing responsibilty, and his lack of physical size (although I should mention, certainly not intent) wasn’t too much of an issue. He had a pretty decent game overall, and you can tell he’s a real confidence player with the bench and staff motivating him constantly and keeping his head high after a mistake.

The man to talk about is Ted Curd, though. He was the sole reason the Three Lions were able to keep a clean sheet, making two impressive saves in the first half and a penalty save in the second. He was arguably Man of the Match, and a clean sheet should do him wonders. I wonder if he’ll get the nod in the knockout stages or not…

Somto was really good defensively, I thought. He made a few important tackles in and around the box while all the attack was coming down his side. He’s started the first and third games of England’s group stage, and stood out in both fixtures, so hopefully he gets a deserved start tomorrow against France in the QFs. Golding came on around the 60th minute taking the armband with him, but he didn’t have much to do.

Kendry Paez

Kendry once again started for Ecuador’s U20 side in their 2-1 win against Slovakia. I said it last time, but I’m going to say it again – a 16 year old starting in this tournament is just ridiculous. There’s a lot of pressure, a lot of players who have played on the biggest stage, and he doesn’t look out of place one bit.

I’m not going to say too much about his performance, as you should just go and watch the match compilation. It doesn’t paint the whole picture as he didn’t have a perfect game, but he picked up an assist, passed the ball incredibly well, struck the crossbar and certainly isn’t short of confidence. He definitely had a lot more space than you’d expect him to get, but it’s worth mentioning that he finds himself in the right place more often than not and that’s a skill in itself.

Cesare Casadei & Andrey Santos

I’ve grouped these two players together as I unfortunately couldn’t watch the Italy and Brazil matches in the World Cup. So, instead, I spoke to the very educated Ollie Glanvill, who gave his thoughts on their performances:

After assisting and scoring all 3 in Italy’s 3-2 win v Brazil on matchday 1, Cesare Casadei went into the game vs Nigeria with the potential for Italy to top the group facing last placed Dominican Republic on final day. Unfortunately for him, their stellar defensive unit of Fredrick Oguchwe and captain Bameyi largely limited Italy to potshots and hopeful attempts. Cesare once again led the team with 4/6 successful dribbles on his now trademark bursts through midfield and in build up also hitting the woodwork from just inside the box. Nigeria are an impressive side and after Italy’s claims for a penalty were dismissed by referee and VAR check early on they took control. Casadei will lead his side out vs Dominican Republic on final day in a must win fixture after they lost this one.

Ollie on Casadei
Santos and Casadei coming up against each other in Matchday 1

In complete contrast to that, all conquering Brazil led by Andrey Santos had to lick their wounds following defeat to Italy. They went into the game vs Dominican Republic knowing only a win would do if they were to have a chance of progression in the tournament. The game was largely one sided but uneventful for the first 30 mins until RW Savio burst onto a cross to head home and the floodgates would then open. To that point Andrey Santos had been involved in pretty much all of Brazil’s best progressive football. Driving out from a deep lying role alongside friend and club teammate Marlon Gomes to join the attack. It was 2-0 at HT and he created one big chance that was wasted before going very close himself just before the whistle. As Brazil grew in command of the game, Andrey was given more licence to stay forward still providing tackles and interceptions but also becoming the link man between wide players and the front line. He was at risk of missing the crucial final game vs Nigeria on the final matchday if he picked up a yellow card, so when Brazil went 3-0 up he was subbed off.

Ollie on Santos

England U20s 3-2 Uruguay U20s

This was a big game for England, as they were coming up against a much more difficult opponent in a stadium which they knew would be full of Uruguayan fans. A victory would seal a place in the World Cup Round of 16, and that’s exactly what they did thanks to positive performances from Bashir Humphreys and Harvey Vale.

It was good to see Bashir starting after picking up a knock in the last game, but if you listened to our latest podcast episode, you’d know he was feeling fine! He got away with some iffy defending around the 20th minute, and that’s something I’ve been on Humphreys’ case for a while. In the academy games, he would tend to have 89 really good minutes of defending, and then one or two moments which he’d be disappointed with – hence the loan move to Bundesliga 2 was a really positive one in my opinion. He very much redeemed himself though, as he scored a lovely header from a corner just a minute later to open up the scoring. His passing throughout the game was great and he broke the lines really well.

A goal from Chelsea defender Bashir Humphreys!

Harvey was a good threat down the left hand side, constantly looking to play in behind their defence and more often that not it worked. A couple times he was the victim of an awful pitch, but it’s something he and the boys are going to have to get used to with England most likely playing a few more games there! He showed his crossing ability once again, and defended really well in general. Perhaps he was a bit knackered in the last 10-15 minutes of the game, so I’m sure he’ll get a deserved rest in the final game of the group stages.

That’s pretty much it for the roundup. Slonina also kept another clean sheet, and made his first save of the tournament too, but there’s not much else to say on him. He’s playing tonight at 7pm and so is Kendry Paez, while tomorrow evening you can expect to see Casadei and Santos start at the same time as some of the Chelsea boys with England’s U17s. On Sunday night, England’s U20s have their final group stage game and hopefully, we see Carney Chukwuemeka and others join in with the squad not too long afterwards, as they’re going to be of huge help in the knockout stages.

If you enjoyed the second article of this series, please do share it with your friends and we’re always happy to hear feedback on any of our social media platforms!

Written by Parth

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