‘We used the crowd to our advantage’ – Devine on Uruguay win
Fri 26 May 2023, 12:30|Tottenham Hotspur
Alfie Devine believes the presence of a rather partisan crowd at England Under-20s’ World Cup group stage clash with Uruguay on Thursday night played a key role in their 3-2 victory.
Taking on their South American opponents in La Plata – a city just across the Samborombon Bay from the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo – England were met with stands packed with Uruguayan nationals who had made the three-hour commute across the border.
Naturally, that brought about a raucous reception for the youngsters as they made their way out onto the pitch and the fiery encounter which followed, but it was an atmosphere that they more than dealt with.
Taking the lead on 22 minutes with Alfie perfectly delivering a corner for Bashir Humphreys to head in, the midfielder then got on the scoresheet himself as he fired in on the stroke of half-time, doubling England’s advantage. Uruguay got back into it early in the second half through Franco Gonzalez, but the Young Lions restored their two-goal advantage in added time via Darko Gyabi - ultimately a crucial, match-winning goal as their opponents grabbed a late consolation in the ninth minute of injury time.
Those three points were enough to secure England a place in the knockout stages with one group game still to go.
“It is massive for us to win,” Alfie told England’s official website. “Going into the game, we knew the crowd wouldn’t be on our side and I think everyone dug really deep and I think we used it as an advantage to motivate us even more. Everyone did superbly.
“(The crowd) motivated us more. Playing in front of a crowd like this, you know you are going to get it. I think we dealt with it really well.”