The 2009 UEFA u-17 European Championships kicked off in Germany today, with Arsenal eyes particularly drawn to the England-Holland encounter in Cottbus, where there were no less than four Gunners on show.
Jack Wilshere and Luke Freeman started for the Three Lions, with Benik Afobe on the bench, whilst Oguzhan Ozyakup captained the Netherlands.
Prior to the game, Ozyakup had spoken about his desire to annihalate his team-mates and he was true to his word. With just four minutes gone, he landed the first blow. Shabir Isoufi cut the ball back from the by-line and Ozyakup was on hand to lash the ball home.
He could have had a second soon after, but saw his shot saved by Jed Steer in the England goal. At the other end, Wilshere was beginning to grow in stature.
After rattling the crossbar with a chipped free-kick, he played a killer pass through to Everton’s Jose Baxter, but the young forward couldn’t finish.
Wilshere continued to make an impression after the break with a cunning effort from distance and England eventually levelled when Leeds’ Luke Garbutt, the left-back, fired home from a narrow angle.
Afobe replaced the tiring Freeman on 75 minutes, but struggled to make an impact.
England take on Germany on Saturday, whilst the Netherlands face Turkey, another country which Ozyakup has allegiances to.