Four-midable GB win gold after Germany rout
Ben Winston's Open football squad were worthy winners of the gold medal after dominating from start to finish in the final against Germany which they won 4-0 on Wednesday evening.
EMG OPEN FOOTBALL FINAL
GB 4 GERMANY 0
Two goals from James Gershfield plus one apiece from Daran Bern and Matt Stock saw GB maintain their perfect record in front of a big crowd at the Hakoah.
Going into the game, the GB squad was boosted by the appearance of Danny Cole. He was released from hospital after breaking his arm against Mexico and joined the substitutes on the bench.
Knowing an early goal would settle any nerves, GB made a dream start when a corner from Ben Lauffer was met by Craig Ellis whose volley was blocked on the line. The ball fell into the path of Daran Bern and he took one touch before firing a rasping effort into the top corner from 20 yards.
The goal helped GB settle and they started to play the ball around fluidly. GB came close to adding a second on 10 minutes but Gershfield and Bern were denied by the agile German keeper.
Then an over-lapping run by David Soutar resulted in a delicious cross but Gershfield was unable to keep his header down.
There was controversy midway through the half when a German player handled the ball. But after realising that he had heard a whistle on the adjoining pitch, the referee rescinded his decision to award a penalty with Team GB showing great sportsmanship for which they were applauded by their opponents.
There was a lengthy stoppage seven minutes before half time when an excellent challenge from Michael Sacks resulted in a German playing hitting the deck hard. The match was stopped for 15 minutes as GB medics including Marc Wittenberg raced on to the pitch to help the player who was knocked out and suffered an obstructed airway.
The injury put a dampner on the match but the player was later stretchered into an ambulance.
The half time whistle blew minutes later with GB a goal to the good.
Daran Bern caused problems every time he got the ball. The Germans just could not live with his pace, quick feet and movement.
But it was from the other flank that GB doubled their lead as a great first touch allowed Matt Stock to race through before he produced an unerring finish into the bottom corner.
GB were comfortable throughout with Matt Davis able to top up his tan as the Germans failed to muster a single shot in 90 minutes. They were unable to break through an excellent defensive unit of David Soutar, Guy Morris, Aron Barnes and Sacks.
Gershfield should have made it 3-0 minutes later after he was set free by Daniel Stanton but the London Lions striker rolled his shot the wrong side of the post.
GB made several changes in the last 15 minutes with Paul Babai and George Fierstone replacing Soutar and Stanton.
Winston's troops continued to surge forward with Bern denied by the keeper.
A third goal came 10 minutes from time as Gershfield produced rifled home.
TJ Keterman, Ben Ellis and Adam Stolerman join proceedings and GB completed the rout in the closing stages as great work between George Fierstone and Bern saw the Neasden playmaker cross to the far post. Matt Stock headed the ball back across goal for Gershfield to add the finishing touch.
Germany were reduced to 10 men five minutes from time when their keeper was sent off for airing his frustrations.
Gershfield had three chances to complete his hat-trick in the final seconds but was denied by the substitute keeper on each occasion.
As the final whistle blew, the celebrations started as GB finished worthy winners.
GB manager Ben Winston said: "We came to Vienna to win gold. I knew it would be difficult as a British team has not won it for many years. I'm very proud.
"The players and coaching staff prepared very well and I think we really impressed some people.
"I think our style has also impressed people. It was a very un-English style. I'm very proud to have been involved with this squad, let alone be the manager.
"We deserved gold and that's exactly what we got. Everyone played their part and everyone has shared this exciting experience. They are a fantastic group.
"People should get a video of what the boys have done this week. They played a very European style of football and it shows that the standard of Jewish football in Great Britain is the best in Europe by some margin. That is something that we should be very proud of."
David Pollack, Winston's assistant-manager, commented: "It's been intense but they are great boys and they have a great attitude. I'm really happy for them."
Assistant-coach Darren Yarlett said: "The effort that the boys have put in over the last nine weeks leading up to Vienna, and their performance over the five matches has been magnificent. They deserve everything they get."
Looking back on his first venture into a European tournament, Yarlett said: "I think we've learnt that you need to use the squad and use it wisely. We needed all 18 players out there and everyone has played a part in our success."
Midfield powerhouse Craig Ellis said: "This is as good as any GB team I've played in. It had character and will to win in abundance. We have some really good characters here and all 1 players backed each other all the way. It's an amazing achievement and I'm delighted."
Striker James Gershfield scored eight goals in the competition, although he missed out on the Golden Boot award to a Mexican. "As a team, we achieved our goal and I achieved mine of scoring more than in the last EMG. Overall it's a very happy day.
"This team was better prepared than two years ago. It was more professional and a much better squad. We thoroughly deserve gold as we've put in a lot of hard work and got what we came for."
Team GB: Matt Davis 7, David Soutar 8, Michael Sacks 8, Guy Morris (capt) 8, Aron Barnes 8, Craig Ellis 9, Daniel Stanton 8, Ben Lauffer 8, Matt Stock 8, James Gershfield 8, Daran Bern 9. Subs: Paul Babai 7, George Fierstone 7, TJ Keterman 7, Adam Stolerman 7, Ben Ellis 7. Sub not used: Dan Lee
Shots: On target - 10, Off target - 5
Shots: On target - 0, Off target - 0
Route to Gold
Final: GB 4 Germany 0 - Gershfield 2, Bern, Stock
Match 4: GB 8 Austria 1 - Gershfield 2, Keterman 2, Sacks, Stolerman, B. Ellis, Bern
Match 3: GB 2 Mexico 0 - C. Ellis, Gershfield
Match 2: GB 2 Switzerland 1 - Keterman, Stanton
Match 1: GB 8 Belgium 3 - Gershfield 3, C. Ellis, Darren Bern, Matt Stock, Ben Ellis, Daniel Cole