Kolkata: It was a truly inspiring performance from English colts, that took football back to it’s homeland as England won the U-17 World Cup for the first time in it’s history, defeating Spain 5-2 at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium on Saturday. It was a completely dominating performance from the ‘Three Lions’ but didn’t look to be when Spain had taken a two goal lead within the first thirty minutes of the match. Rhian Brewster’s header gave hope and Phil Foden’s shot then sealed it sending the 66, 684 football frenzy fans into raptures.
Fresh from notching up big wins against their respective opponents in the Semi-finals, both teams started the match equal on pace and England could have well gone ahead 47 seconds into the game but Spain scored after a defensive lapse in the 10th minute. ‘Destino perfecto’ is a Spanish word meaning a perfect destination and Spain did just that in the 31st minute when Sergio Gomez scored his second goal of the night even as England failed to send the ball into it’s perfect destiny with just two shots on target out of seven.
Winning, scoring goals, hat-tricks and clean sheets, this England team had done everything in the tournament apart from going behind by goals. It was test of their resilience and their character and England right from when Hudson-Odoi’s shot rattled the bar did just that toying with the Spanish defence. Rhian Brewster headed one in, six minute before half-time followed by a Foden-Sessegnon link up that saw Gibbs-white equalise 12 minutes into the second half. Right back Sessegnon was equally strong on defence making a goal-line save to keep Spain at bay.
Jadon Sancho who? the commentator screamed as Hudson-Odoi and Foden combined well for England’s third goal. Man City teenage Foden especially has been an unsung hero for England throughout the tournament and put up another MoM performance against Spain with two goals and an assist in the final. He was deservingly awarded the golden ball. La Roja on the other hand was completely outplayed as the match progressed with England registering 25 shots on goal despite Spain keeping 52% possession.
1966 was the last time England won a world Cup and 50 years later, 2017 gifted England two World Cups (U-20s and U-17) a gift to wipe away the pain and agony for the last 50 years. The triumph in India also brought an end to a long English summer, a successful one.
Spain on the other hand head back home having failed to cross the final hurlde a fourth time in the U-17 World Cup.
Brazil vs Mali
While they could have just gone to watch the final match, a record 56, 422 people attended the third-fourth place play-off game and cheered for Brazil throughout but could not witness an usual South American flair as Brazil struggled.
“I told them the crowd here could have come just for the final, But they came early because they love Brazil and we should try and show them how Brazil play football. It didn’t happen tonight but we could do that for most of our time in India,” said coach Carlos Amadeu also adding that the loss came at a bad time for the players.
The Samba boys down in motivation after a heart-wrenching loss against England lacked the touch and needed a gift from Mali custodian Youssouf Koita (who did a Robert Greeny for England against USA in the 2014 World Cup) to take the lead. Yuri Alberto scored the second to bring up the win as Brazil earned a respectable third place finish despite playing second best in the day.
“Today, we were lucky after being below par. We knew we could do more. You can say Mali played and Brazil won,” said a disappointed but a happy Amadeu.
Brazil goalkeeper Brazao made a few fine saves to deny N’Diaye a couple of times and was duly rewarded with the Golden Gloves award later.
Kolkata: England 5 ( R. Brewster 44′ Gibbs-White 58′ P. Foden 69′, 88′ M. Guehi 84′) beat Spain 2 ( S. Gomez 10′, 31′)
Brazil 2 (A. Souza 55′ Y. Alberto 88′) beat Mali 0