By their own high standards, England's record at the FIFA U-20 World Cup is somewhat disappointing, achieving one fourth place finish in 1981 and third place 12 years later.
Their most recent showing at Egypt 2009 almost saw them exit the competition without a point, but Alex Nimely’s 88th minute equaliser against Uzbekistan ensured they returned home with something to show for their efforts.
England qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011 by virtue of reaching the last four of the UEFA U-19 Championship France 2010. Their first game in the competition, a 3-2 win over Austria, gave Noel Blake’s team the best possible start, but a single goal defeat to the Dutch combined with a last-gasp draw against eventual winners France set up a semi-final encounter with the formidable Spain, which they lost 3-1. However, Blake was not too despondent with the result, claiming that the team’s main objective was to reach the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals.
Although Blake led them to qualification, England will be coached by Brian Eastick at Colombia 2011. The vastly-experienced coach joined the FA in 2005 and coaches the England U-18s, U-19s and U-20s.
During a 32-year career he has worked at clubs up and down the British Isles, including Queen’s Park Rangers, Chelsea, Brighton & Hove Albion, Charlton Athletic, Leyton Orient, Coventry City, Crewe Alexandra and Sheffield United. He also holds the UEFA Pro Licence badge and is an experienced, well respected coach. His best achievements as a coach came as assistant manager of Northern Ireland in 1995 and also his nine years as academy manager at Birmingham City and Newcastle United.