Dazzling England conquer Spain

Young Lions rally from two goals down to post a stunning 5-2 win for maiden triumph

Dazzling England conquer Spain
England produced a performance for the ages to lift the FIFA U-17 World Cup here at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Saturday, coming back from 0-2 down to defeat Spain 5-2 in the final.

The Young Lions were behind after a twin strike from Sergio Gomez (10th, 31st minutes) but that didn’t dampen their spirits as they mounted a spectacular comeback to emerge champions for the first time.

The top-scorer of the tournament Rihan Brewster was the first to find the back of the net for England in the 44th minute. Later, a goal from Morgan Gibbs White (58th minute) drew parity and a double strike from Philip Foden (69th, 88th minutes) and one from Marc Guehi (84th minute) sealed the deal for Steve Cooper’s side.

Throughout the competition, England had shown the inclination for a patient build-up, stitching numerous passes together and waiting for an opening to exploit the opportunity — a trait that the Spanish have been famous for. The question was, whether they could adopt a similar style against Spain in a game as big as a World Cup final. They did just that and to a great effect.

Starting with ball-playing midfielders Foden, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Gibbs White, England took control of the midfield and used Brewster’s pace to break the Spanish backline. The pace that Gibbs White and Brewster could generate took the Spaniards by surprise as the duo raced past their markers and made their moves with relative ease.

If not for Alvaro Fernandez in the Spanish goal, the La Rojitas would have found themselves behind as early as the third minute. Gibbs White picked up an unmarked Brewster on the far side. The Liverpool FC boy did well to get his shot on target, but Fernandez read it well and pulled out a brilliant save.

Gomez then gave the Spaniards the lead against the run of play. Cesar Gelabert did well to knock down a Juan Miranda cross for Gomez who did well to push it past Curtis Anderson in the English goal.

If that goal didn’t have the typical Spanish finesse, Gomez soon showed his class with a thunderbolt from inside the English penalty area to make it 2-0. Gelabert was once again the provider for the La Masia product. The lad from Real Madrid, with his back to the goal, looped the ball sideways to an onrushing Gomez who aimed for the corner and succeeded in some style.

If one thought that was the end of the tie, there was more drama to unfold. Towards the closing stages of the first half, England looked a better attacking unit. Hudson-Odoi struck the post before Brewster handed his side a lifeline with his goal. It was Sessegnon who made the goal with a brilliant cross from the right.

After the break, England continued from where they ended in the first half. And with Foden asking all sorts of questions of the Spanish defence, it wasn’t long before they equalised. Sessegnon once again turned provider, this time for Gibbs-White. His low cross into the box was met by the Wolverhampton Wanders midfielder from close range to bring England back into the tie.

England were soon rewarded for their perseverance. George McEachran sent a perfectly weighted through-ball to Hudson-Odoi and the left winger’s cross was turned in by Foden as England surged ahead.

England made it 4-2 when a Hudson-Odui’s free-kick was headed down to Guehi’s feet and he turned it into the net from close range. Four minutes later, Manchester City’s Foden grabbed his brace and added an emphatic touch to the result.
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