KAZAN, RUSSIA – Despite being ruled out due to injury former Duke men’s soccer goalkeeper James Belshaw came through in a penalty kick shootout to lead Great Britain to the World University Games men’s soccer final. Great Britain upset the host Russian squad to advance for a chance to take home the gold medal.
Belshaw, missing the game due to an injury, came on for GBR in the 92nd minute as the 1-1 game went into a penalty kick shootout. Belshaw’s presence in goal forced Russia to miss twice and allowed Great Britain to win 5-3.
Playing in front of 10,000 Russian fans, GBR went down a man just before halftime after James Aldred was issued his second yellow card of the game resulting in a red card. Russia broke the 0-0 deadlock in the 68th minute, but Great Britain refused to go away and scored the equalizer in the 80th minute.
Russia nearly broke Great Britain’s hearts after the host squad’s Nikita Bocharov hit the post in the final minute of regulation as the game headed into a penalties.
Penalty shoot-outs seem to have brought only misery for England in international tournaments. But here, representing Great Britain, Englishmen Nicky Platt, Alex Dyer, Jack Winter and Simon Richman all scored their spot-kicks with supreme confidence. With Dyadun sending his penalty sailing over the bar Welshman Craig Moses was handed with the opportunity to win the match. Moses, who scored the winning penalty against Brazil in the 2011 semi-final shoot-out of this competition, sent the keeper the wrong way to seal another special win, greeted by wild celebrations among the squad, team management and the GBR supporters in the stands.
After the celebrations GBR Head Coach James Ellis reflected: “Our aim was to be in the game after an hour. The sending off threw that, and at half time we went 4-4-1 and I told the lads to protect our half of the pitch and play on the counter attack.
"We'd prepared for Russia going ahead, so changed it to a 4-3-2. I think belief in what we were doing got them through.
"The pressure's off now really. We set the target of a medal, and I'd rather play France than Japan, as this is their first time in the final, our second, and we have a bit of experience in the side. So we're going out there to win the game and the gold."
GBR will play France, who defeated Japan (also on penalties), in the final at 12 pm (ET) Tuesday, July 16. Follow WUGSGB on twitter for live updates.