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How the England U17 squad swept aside La Rojas

Sunday 29th October 2017
Cup finals are always intriguing and special. The U17 World Cup between Spain and England was even more so with b oth nations fighting for their maiden title at this level. So, you can imagine the hunger and desire that was on display.

Well, this final…oh wait, not just the final but, this whole month-long tournament was a remarkable episode in a country of over a billion people where cricket is the predominant sport. It was an all European occasion staged on Asian soil.

As the tournament unfolded, it gripped fans from across the world, however, when it reached its termination - England were set to lock horns with Spain for the ultimate U17 football tournament. England emerged as the winners in a dramatic fashion. Thanks to their ferocious second-half performance in which they were too hot to handle for the La Rojas.

Here is how they eased past Spain in an emphatic manner.

Solid Mentality

England scored early goals in almost all their matches and had never been behind in the tournament. However, football is a funny old game and England conceded an early goal in the final. In the 10th minute, the Spanish no. 10 Sergio Gomez flicked a shot in from close range. However, England did not let this affect them. They carried on their game and looked sharper on the ball. But, a sloppy defence will be punished and Spain did exactly that with a second goal on the 31st minute courtesy of that man again – Sergio Gomez! A brilliantly constructed goal which involved everything from tricks and skills, pass to a super finish.
So, now the England U17 squad found themselves two goals behind after just 31 minutes played. It was very crucial for the Englishmen to score the next goal of the game. They attacked the Spanish at every opportunity and finally a sigh of relief came just before the stroke of half-time from hat-trick hero Rhian Brewster - the man who never disappointed England in this tournament.

After the restart, Steve Cooper's side seemed more threatening as they started to storm the Spanish defence. It was just the matter of time for England to find the net again.

In the second half it was a do or die situation for England and they unleashed the beast within themselves. Gibbs White equalled the scoreline in the 58th minute. And after that, they launched a wave after wave of attack via the wings to the Spanish territory.

Santiago Denia's side managed to keep resisting until Philip Foden gave England the much-deserved lead in the 69th minute. They say that the one-goal lead is never enough, and you can't rely on that, certainly not when you are playing in the World Cup final. England ensured this happened with two late goals from Guehi (84) and Foden (88) which helped to seal the deal for the England U17 squad.

Explosive pace

The pace of the England team helped to cement their victory, especially in the second half. Wingers Hudson Odoi and Philip Foden ran the show from the left and right flank respectively. It seemed like Steve Cooper was analysing the Spaniard's in the first half and he realised that they can be beaten with pace. Cooper's tactics was executed splendidly by the young Lions.
The majority of attacks from England involved their wingers and fullbacks in the second half. The two stand out players were, of course, the wingers – Hudson Odoi and Philip Foden. The two wide men showed their class every time they were in possession. Both players possess plenty of pace, Hudson Odoi was at his best and left the Spanish Left back in shambles multiple times, breezing past him with ease. On the other side, it was the golden boy of this tournament – Phil Foden, the Manchester City youngster. Time and time again this young lad has shown why he's so special. And he didn't disappoint on the big occasion. He grabbed a brace and played an exquisite pass which led to the equalising goal scored by Gibbs White. Foden's got a very sweet left foot and he dribbles like a pro. The Spanish defence just couldn't handle the duo and they caused them the maximum damage.

So, it was a very well deserved title for the young Lions. Their maiden achievement at this level which they can be proud of.
Zaid Pathan

A huge fan of Peter Drury's bombastic post-goal narration and an ardent football follower since his teens, Zaid believes the beautiful game is the best mode of escape from the daily hustle and bustle. He particularly loves to watch the Premier League and wants English clubs to dominate Europe again.

Life may or may not be beautiful, but football surely is.

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