Featured Image: A TV grab of England footballers celebrating their victory over Spain at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
By A Newsman
Kolkata, 28 October: WHAT a comeback! Despite lagging behind Spain 2:0 until 43 minutes into the match, England has turnaround the game to clinch the FIFA U-17 World Cup here in Kolkata this evening.
England footballers in white jersey have defeated Spain’s boys in red by 5:2, resulting in the jam-packed Yuva Bharati Krirangan, better known as Salt Lake stadium, to burst into cheers.
This is the first time that England has won the title, albeit it never even entered the semis of the biennial championship being played since 1991. Spain, on the other hand, had ended up runners in 1991 and 2003; it had secured third place in 1997.
Top scorer of the final match today evening is Phil Foden, who took to the fields putting on jersey No 7. Foden scored two goals for England. The remaining three goals for the team came from Rhian Brewster (No 9), Morgan Gibbs White (No 19), and Marc Guehi (No 5).
The two goals that Spain sent to England’s net were both scored by Sergio Gomez, the Barcelona FC striker, who this evening played wearing jersey No 10.
Notwithstanding the political turmoil back home, footballers from Spain had started it well this evening at Salt Lake stadium. For better part of the first half of the 94-minute game (4 minutes extra), they deceived England defenders to score two goals at 21 minutes gap.
At 10 minutes, Spain’s Gomez converted a pass from Cesar Gelabert into the first goal of the match. This left England dumbstruck for a while.
England tried to give it back to Spain’s net in the following next few minutes, but only for the boys to miss two close chances at 21 minutes and 25 minutes. Met with the strong defence of Spain, England’s shots either went over the bar or missed the sides.
Amid this, Gomez scored again for Spain at 31 minutes, soon after the match resumed following the two-minute cooling break.
The first breakthrough for England came at 44 minutes, when Rhian Brewster (No 9), who plays for Liverpool, scored for the team. He converted a pass from Steven Sessegnon (No 18) into goal through a fascinating header.
The match went into the halftime, Spain still in the lead with 2:1 and England’s attack and defence both in a lackluster. The scenario turned just opposite when the match resumed post the 12-minute break.
In the second half of the game, England’s forward took charge of the match and Spain’s defence suddenly took to the backseat. The boys in white jersey not only played with better coordination than the first half, they even went into attacking Spain several times.
The yield came through at 58 minutes, when Morgan Gibbs White (No 19) made best use of a quick pass from Steven Sessegnon (No 18) to send the ball into Spain’s net. White used his left foot to achieve the equaliser for England and thus making the match 2:2.
Upbeat by this, England made two more close attacks at 61 minutes and 64 minutes, but the Spanish goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez saved the day on both occasions. But with the team’s crumbling defence before England boots, he could not hold the post for long and eventually gave in.
England’s Foden (No 7) scored his first goal of the match at 69 minutes from the ball that teammate Callum Hudson-Odoi (No 14) passed him on a platter. The match now stood at England 3, Spain 2.
The Spanish tried to make up for the gap but made two close misses at 73 minutes and 78 minutes. England, on the other hand, kept up the attack, and using a pass from Hudson-Odoi (No 14), Marc Guehi (No 5) sent the ball straight to Spain’s net at 84 minutes.
And once the match turned 4:2 in favour of the English, the Spanish clearly threw in the towel. This made England’s Foden (No 7) make another easy score at the 88 minutes, thus taking the match to 5:2.
With the fifth goal from their boots, the England team took to a quick celebration even as six minutes were still to go in the match.
In the next few minutes, the Spanish team went into the attacking mode, but they seemed to believe that it was too late! Thus, the extra four minutes of the match went into them exchanging expletives and even coming nearly to blows with England counterparts. England’s Rhian Brewster (No 9) was shown a yellow card for this though.
As the final whistle rang at the 94th minute, the English players burst into celebrations by making rounds of the ground and waving their national flag to the loud cheers from the audience. Soon, firecrackers started bursting in different parts of Kolkata!