Kolkata: England created and re-created history as the Samba wall crushed not once but thrice and it was one man, Rhian Brewster who took the final shot all three times, becoming the first English player to score seven or more goals in a World Cup and also the first to score two back-to-back hat-tricks in consecutive matches as England thrashed Brazil 3-1 at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium on Wednesday. The ‘Three Lions’ reached the final of the U-17 World Cup for the first time and now are the favourites to win it.
After much hype was made of the quality of the Brazilian players and the array of supports it will receive, the Selecao boys clearly disappointed as England completely dominated the match with Brazil attacking in flashes. The boys in yellow however started better as England looked nervous in the opening minutes. But Phil Foden’s run saw Brewster score in the 10th minute, just a brief of what was in store for the three times champions.
Manchester City’s Phil Foden, considered a ‘gift’ by Pep Guardiola made darting runs throughout the match and each run tore apart the Brazilian defence. So was Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has been on his own since the quarter-final against USA. The attacking trio of Hudson-Odoi-Brester-Foden continuously toyed with the Brazilian defence with able support from Gibbs-white and George McEachran.
Although Brazil did equalise in the 21st minute through Wesley after Anderson failed to collect Paulinho’s shot, Brenner’s costly miss minutes later, established England’s dominance in the match. The second goal was a clear evident of this when the ‘Three Lions’ made five passes in the Brazil D even as Steven Sessegnon made an overlap run unmarked to lay out for Brewster to score. Such was Brazil’s incongruousness that substitue Emile Smith Rowe had enough time to pick up an assist for the third goal, bidding Brazil a final adieu from the country.
Come Saturday, England surely with be a hot favourite to lay their hands on the elusive trophy for the first time ever in it’s otherwise glorious history.
Spain vs Mali
Champions clashed in the second semi-final on the U-17 World Cup at the DY Patil Stadium on Wednesday with Spain coming in top over the African Champions Mali, beating them with identical goals as the previous match to reach their fourth final and first since 2007. La Roja dominated completely as a wayward Mali wasted several chances to score a goal. Spain on the other hand capitalisesd on their chances and took the lead as early as the 19th minute, when winger Cesar earned a penalty. Captain Abel Ruiz doubled the lead minutes later to take his tally to six goals only behind England’s Rhian Brewster as Spain went into the half-time leading 2-0. Ferran Torres then added the final nail in the coffin with a well placed header into the net in the 71st minute.
Mali did score a consolation goal three minutes later through Lassana N’Diaye but it was too late as Mali’s hopes of reaching successive finals bit the dust. The Eagles’ defeat also ended Africa’s search for a hat-trick of titles in three consecutive U-17 World Cups.
Meanwhile, Spain next face first time finalists England, in the repeat match of the 2017 Euro finals witb both sides aiming to add a first U-17 crown to their rich history.
Kolkata – England 3 ( R. Brewster 10′, 39′, 77′) beat Brazil 1 (Wesley 21′)
Navi Mumbai – Spain 3 (A. Ruiz 19′ (P), 43′ Ferran Torres 71′) beat Mali 1 ( L. N’Diaye 74′)