BT PWC 2012: England inspire British Cerebral Palsy side in Manchester
MEETING his England Euro 2012 heroes helped inspire George Fletcher to a hat-trick against the USA as Great Britain's 7-a-side Cerebral Palsy football team put one foot in Saturday's BT Paralympic World Cup final.
FAMOUS FACES: Great Britain's cerebral palsy footballers meet the England squad at the City of Manchester Stadium
Fletcher rubbed shoulders with the likes of Three Lions captain Steven Gerrard as well as his Everton idol Leighton Baines just hours before starring in his side's 7-0 win.
The result ensured Lyndon Lynch's men bounced back from Wednesday's defeat to Brazil to get their hopes for gold in Manchester back on track.
"We made full advantage of asking the England team questions and it got us all really hyped for the game," said Fletcher.
"Hopefully we did them proud."
"It was inspirational for them to meet some of the top players in the country," added his coach Lynch. "I told the players to take the energy from that meeting into this game and I like to think they did that."
Fletcher opened the scoring from close-range in the 22nd minute before Ibrahima Diallo doubled Great Britain's lead three minutes from the interval.
Diallo grabbed his second early in the second half as Great Britain turned the screw, with Michael Barker making it 4-0 with just under a quarter of an hour left.
Substitute Alistair-Patrick Heselton then hammered in a fifth soon after before Fletcher grabbed a quickfire double in the dying minutes to wrap up his hat-trick.
In the day's earlier kick-off Brazil made it two wins from as many games with a 5-0 thrashing of the Republic of Ireland to book their place in Saturday's final.
Ireland put up a spirited display in the first-half but Mateus Calvo broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute before Wanderson Oliveira doubled Brazil's lead.
Brazil then turned on the style with ten minutes to go, Fabio Bordignon adding a third with Jose Guimaraes taking his personal tally for the tournament to three less than 60 seconds later.
Emanoel Oliveira then completed the rout in injury-time as Brazil made a clear statement of intent ahead of a final against either England or Ireland.
The BT Paralympic World Cup is taking place in Manchester from 22-26 May with elite international athletes competing in Athletics, Football 7-aside and Wheelchair Basketball. Go to www.btparalympicworldcup.com for tickets and more information.