Last weekend London Falcons achieved their best result in an international tournament, winning silver at the Rome Eurogames.
Chairman's note: Over the summer we've had a few changes at the club. After three years in charge I've handed over the reigns to Jimmy. Replacing him as captain is George, assisted by Will as vice-captain. It's a positive step forward for Falcons that we have so many able people who can take up the senior positions at the club and, as you'll see in Will's tour report below, they've already put down quite a marker in their first outing.
For three days in July this summer all roads led to Rome, as the London Falcons set off for the 2019 Eurogames in the eternal city. We had high hopes that we could at least match, if not better our previous performances at this level. What we got were some unforgettable performances, incredible grit and determination and a new appreciation for the joy of playing football in the freezing cold February weather!
In the sweltering heat, the Falcons got off to a dream start with a comprehensive and well-deserved 6-0 win against Village Manchester. Manager Jimmy set the tone by chasing down a defender and catching a deflection off a backpass that rolled past the keeper. It was soon two, as superb attacking work from Rob allowed him to outstrip the last defender and selflessly set up Will to slot into the open net. Three more goals from Will as well as a first-ever goal for the Falcons from Ben after some great wing back play meant we finished the first round of fixtures at the top of the group.
After a quick lunch and dip in the pool, we were back out under the Roman sun to face the Stockholm Snipers. In a gritty affair, there was very little to separate the sides who did their best to compete in the 35 degree heat for the second time that day. However, a superb midfield burst from Paddy left his opposite man with no choice but to drag the Falcon down in the box and concede a penalty. Will stepped up to slot home and make it two wins out of two for the Falcons on a very successful opening day.
With kits somewhat washed and legs as stretched as they could be, we readied ourselves for a second day of fixtures. Taking on the Pink Devils from Antwerp, we got off to a flying start with quick goals from Alex and Kieran setting the scene for another dominant Falcons performance. An own goal plus efforts from Rob, Ben and a second strike from Alex meant that we had our second 6-0 win in as many days and in a strong position to secure a spot in the Division 1 Semi Finals.
But the drama didn’t stop there. The Italian National team were all that stood in our way from safe passage to the semis, but as the injuries started to pile up for the Falcons and legs began to get heavier, the Italians struck a sucker punch with a deflected free kick that ended our run as the only team in the competition yet to concede a goal. Yet as we saw all week, this was a team that simply would not give up. After a tactical shift to 4-3-3, a beautiful midfield passage of play set Rob free down the right, whose perfectly weighted first-time cross was deftly nodded home by Will to level up proceedings. But with seconds on the clock, a speculative effort from 30 yards caught the Falcons off guard and condemned us to our first defeat of the competition. Thankfully, an Italian defeat to Stockholm meant that we still managed to secure our first ever Division 1 Semi Finals at the Eurogames!
Some sore heads but mainly sorer legs was the state of play for the Falcons on Day 3, as the prospect of a further 150 minutes of football in the burning heat of Italy loomed ominously on the horizon. First up were PanamBoyz from Paris, who raced into an undeserved lead early on. But the Falcons battled and with minutes on the clock, Chris rose like a salmon to meet a corner and send the tie to spot kicks. Amidst the drama, a hero emerged, with Matt saving two penalties in the shootout to send the Falcons into their first-ever division 1 European final against Stonewall.
Here the journey reached its climax. Despite battling bravely with a threadbare squad, the Falcons succumbed to a 4-0 defeat. But there were no tears and only pride as we went to collect our silver medals, symbols of our rapid progress as a club and a sign of things to come! We now look to go one better in Düsseldorf than 2020!
If you fancy being a part of that experience, why not message email@example.com or come down to training at Kennington Park every Tuesday from 7:45pm!