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The England U20 sides journey to winning the World Cup

Monday 12th June 2017
Sunday morning saw history being made in South Korea. The England U20 side had won the World Cup Final against Venezuela. This is the first time that any England team at any level will have won a World Cup since 1966. So lets take a look at the journey of the England U-20's side.

The Journey Begins

The 2017 U-20 World Cup kicked off on 17th May. A total of 24 teams entered the competition in hope for the most coveted prize at U-20 international level. England's first game came on the opening day against Argentina. It ended with a comfortable 3-0 win for England. The goals came from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Adam Armstrong. In the final minutes, Dominic Solanke converted a penalty to seal England's first win of the group stage.
England's second game was up against Guinea who had lost 3-0 previously to the hosts, South Korea. Lewis Cook took advantage and put England 1-0 up on 53 minutes. However, just 6 minutes later Fikayo Tomori's back pass to his own goalkeeper, Dean Henderson was overshot. Tomori didn't check before he passed the ball and it ended up in England's own net. The game ended 1-1 leaving Tomori and Henderson a little red-faced.

The next fixture for England was against the hosts, South Korea. Their 3-0 win against Guinea and 2-1 win against Argentina meant that the game against England would be a deciding game to see who wins the group. Kieran Dowell got the only goal of the game for England securing the top spot. Even though South Korea lost they still advanced in 2nd place.

In the knockout stages, England was up against Costa Rica who had advanced even though they came 3rd in Group C. They advanced due to the best goal difference of all 3rd placed teams in the competition.
Ademola Lookman was the key man in this match as he bagged himself a brace. The young Everton striker scored in the 35th and the 63rd minutes. Costa Rica caused a stir at the end of the game with a goal on 89 minutes but it was too little too late. England had advanced through to the quarter-finals.

Their last-8 match up was against Mexico. Dominic Solanke was a key player in this game as he grabbed the only goal for England. The forward got his goal on the opening of the second half in the 47th minute. Solanke's goal was a key to the semi-final, something an England team could only wish for.

The Semi-Finals

England then had to face up to an Italian side in the semi-finals. It was a nightmare for The Three Lions as they had let in a goal after just two minutes from kick off. Not what manager, Paul Simpson would have wanted. However, they managed to hold off a second goal and reach half-time. The second half would be a time to change things around and that's exactly what England did.
On 66 minutes Dominic Solanke was at it again. One more goal for him this tournament and an equaliser to make it 1-1. England really was putting on the afterburners and Italy started to struggle to keep up. Ademola Lookman got himself on the scoresheet to make it 2-1 before Solanke got his brace in the 88th minute. With it being 3-1 England were jubilant in celebrations.

The full-time whistle went and England players, staff and fans couldn't believe it. You may say that it's only the U20's but this is the first English team to get to a World Cup final in 51 years. OK, it may not be the main team but it is a great sign that England actually has quality in their youth set up.

The Final

The final was up against Venezuela who has had a great tournament, to say the least. Venezuela caused a scare for England on 24 minutes with a long range free kick.  Lucena shot from 40 yards out with the ball twisting and turning only for it to hit the post and come back out. England keeper, Woodman just stood and watched hoping for the best.
There was a breakthrough in the 35th minute after a free kick from England was lofted into the opposing box. Calvert-Lewin jumped for the ball eventually having the ball fall to his feet. The Everton man had his shot saved which then fell straight back to him. He then managed to find the back of the net to take England into the lead.

Onomah managed to hit the bar for England in the 56th minute. In the 73rd minute, a penalty was given to Venezuela after Penaranda got brought down in the box. However, it was decided that the video referee should be used for the situation. It was decided that it was a penalty but it also showed that situations like that can be sorted out much easier than normal.

Penaranda was the man to step up to the plate for Venezuela but Woodman managed to save England from conceding. England managed to hold on right up to the final whistle winning the game 1-0.

This may have only been the under 20's but England has just won the World Cup. The first team to do it in 51 years. It is a great achievement for English football. Questions will surround futures of the stars in the England U-20 side. They will have to make the right decisions to unleash their potentials and we will see what they have to offer in the future.
Jamie Kynaston

For my sins, I'm a season ticket holder at Stoke City, I have been proud to watch them for over 20 years. I follow most of the UK leagues and the major European ones too, and I've been told that I talk way too much about football.

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