Eng­land are Un­der-20 world cham­pi­ons

World Soccer - - The World -

Eng­land won their first world youth ti­tle, over­com­ing Venezuela 1-0 in the Un­der-20 World Cup in South Korea.

In his coun­try’s first ap­pear­ance in the Fi­nal of a global tour­na­ment since the 1966 World Cup, Ever­ton for­ward Do­minic Calvert-Lewin’s firsthalf goal was enough for vic­tory af­ter New­cas­tle United goal­keeper Fred­die Wood­man saved a sec­ond-half penalty.

“This is the re­ward for some in­cred­i­ble work, some in­cred­i­ble sac­ri­fices, and I do not think you can get a bet­ter feel­ing than what that felt like at the end of the game when the ref­eree blew that whis­tle,” said Eng­land’s man­ager Paul Simp­son, the for­mer Shrews­bury Town and Stock­port County boss. “We are world cham­pi­ons and we have waited 51 years to be able to say that again as an Eng­land team. It is an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing and I do not think it will ever go away if I am hon­est with you.”

Simp­son, who took charge of the un­der-20s in March fol­low­ing Aidy Boothroyd’s pro­mo­tion to un­der-21 man­ager, said he had called on the play­ers to be am­bi­tious in their plans for the tour­na­ment. “I asked them the ques­tion, ‘What do you think you can achieve?’ and they told me they thought they could win a World Cup,” he said. “We said if we want to win a World Cup we have to be ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted from that mo­ment on and they have been.”

Sev­eral mem­bers of the squad are con­tracted to Pre­mier League clubs, in­clud­ing CalvertLewin, who started the sea­son with Sh­effield

United in League One, his Ever­ton team-mate Ade­mola Look­man, and Do­minic Solanke, who re­cently switched from Chelsea to Liver­pool.

But it re­mains to be seen how many of the vic­to­ri­ous team will be­come reg­u­lars in the Pre­mier League. “I hope it has a pos­i­tive im­pact on English foot­ball,” Simp­son said.

“I don’t re­ally know what is go­ing to come but it is part of the de­vel­op­ment that we are try­ing to cre­ate foot­ball play­ers who are ca­pa­ble of be­ing suc­cess­ful at se­nior tour­na­ments and hope­fully this will go a long way to achiev­ing that. I hon­estly don’t know what it means for English foot­ball. But for the un­der-20s it means ev­ery­thing. This is what we have worked so hard for.”

Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal of the game in the 35th minute.

The 20-year-old met a free-kick from Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook and found space be­hind his marker be­fore slot­ting home with his left foot fol­low­ing a re­bound off the keeper.

With 17 min­utes re­main­ing, Wood­man de­nied Adal­berto Pe­naranda from the spot af­ter the for­ward was fouled by Kyle Walker-Peters.

Solanke, who spent the 2015-16 sea­son on loan at Dutch club Vitesse Arn­hem, was awarded the Golden Ball as player of the tour­na­ment.

Eng­land be­gun the tour­na­ment in style, beat­ing Ar­gentina 3-0 in their open­ing group game to record their first win at a world un­der-20 fi­nals for 20 years and end­ing a tour­na­ment record of 17 games with­out a win.

Vic­to­ries over Costa Rica, Mex­ico and Italy in the knock­out phase set up the show­down against Venezuela.

The Venezue­lans reached the Fi­nal af­ter beat­ing tour­na­ment favourites Uruguay on penal­ties but they needed an in­jury-time equaliser to take the semi-fi­nal into ex­tra time.

Vic­to­ri­ous... Eng­land’s un­der-20s

Heroic...Fred­die Wood­man’s penalty save in the Fi­nal

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