England's dismal season at Under-20 level continued yesterday as they were pushed to the edge of elimination from the World Youth Championships by a 1-0 defeat to Egypt.
Les Reed's side travelled to the United Arab Emirates after a disastrous Toulon Tournament which saw them fail to score in four games, including an 8-0 reverse to Argentina. And their troubles continued in the United Arab Emirates after Emad Motab's second-half goal for Egypt left them needing a freakish set of circumstances to qualify from their four-team first-round group following a 1-0 defeat to Japan in their opening game on Saturday.
The Under-20s need to beat Colombia on Friday, hope that Egypt overcome Japan - with both games ensuring England have a better goal difference than the Japanese - and also rely on other results meaning that they finish as one of four best third-placed teams.
A large expatriate support for both countries at the Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai saw Reed's outfit create chances against Egypt but struggle to match their opponents' skill levels.
Motab scored in the 74th minute with a brilliant solo effort which saw him escape the attentions of three England defenders before firing the ball past the Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.
Sepp Blatter, the president of football's world governing body, Fifa, has ruled out talks with Europe's most powerful clubs who want financial compensation for releasing players for international tournaments.
The 18-strong G14 says Fifa and Uefa, the European governing body, should pay players' salaries for the duration of the events and has threatened to take legal action if the ruling bodies refused to negotiate. But Blatter said: "I will not talk to G14. I did it once and it was not good. The G14 is not a recognised organisation of European football."