Liverpool wonderkid Brewster hat-trick fires vibrant England to maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup Final
Elsewhere, an Abel Ruiz brace saw European champions Spain outclass crowd favourites Mali in Mumbai.
The Salt Lake Stadium was jam-packed once again to watch the two title contenders in Brazil and England fight it out and both teams didn’t really shuffle around much with their team. Brazil made only one change with the goalscorer against Germany in Weverson returning for Luan Candido, while England were unchanged from their trashing of the USA. The Brazilians looked really energized, pressing the English players hard and making it difficult for them to keep the ball. But the Three Lions got the first chance of the game in the 6th minute when Phil Foden found the ball just outside the penalty area, but his right-footed shot was a rather weak one.
England were looking like the hungrier side and got their reward in the 10th minute when Callum Hudson-Odoi played in a beautiful cross to Rhian Brewster, who tricked the Brazilian defenders and scored off the rebound of his header to give England the early lead. Brazil were shaken up from that and wanted to give an instant response as Paulinho took a free-kick in the 15th minute and drove in a dangerous ball which went past all the Brazilian players in the box. Paulinho got his chance at goal four minutes later when he drifted to the right flank and received the ball inside the box with a lot of space ahead of him, but his shot was saved well by Curtis Anderson.
Watch Brazil 1-3 England Highlights
But Brazil’s devotion at getting the equalizer paid off in the 21st minute when Paulinho again got an attempt at goal and hit a vicious effort which was fumbled by Curtis Anderson and England’s failure to clear the ball meant that Wesley pounced on it to score the equalizer for the Selecao. The match was turning out to be an end to end one and England almost scored in the 30th minute off a corner as Joel Latibeaudiere leaped highest, but couldn’t keep his header on target. Brazil created an opportunity of their own a minute later when Brenner was through on goal with only the charging Anderson to beat, but his shot went just wide of the mark.
England got their lead back in the 39th minute by producing some brilliant work on the right wing when Foden found the overlapping Steven Sessegnon inside the box, who passed it to Brewster who expertly took the ball on his left foot and put the ball into the net in his second attempt to complete his brace. Both teams threatened towards the end of the half, but couldn’t change the scoreline heading into the break.
Brazil got the first chance of the second half when Marcos Antonio took a dangerous shot on goal in the 50th minute, which was saved by Anderson. England were tiring out Brazil and almost caught them out three minutes later when Hudson-Odoi put in a cross from the right to the unmarked Brewster, who couldn’t really keep his header down despite jumping well for it. Brazil managed to find some space in the 59th minute when Brenner’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected, but Anderson dived well to parry out the shot.
Foden showed his amazing trickery in the 61st minute by dazzling Weverson and hitting a dangerous shot from an acute angle, which was scuffled away by Gabriel Brazao. Brazil went on the counter-attack from there and Yuri Alberto showed some amazing speed to beat the English defenders, but he couldn’t beat Anderson who saved well from the Brazilian’s left-footed shot.
England weren’t letting Brazil get a sniff at goal and pounced on their lapse of concentration in the 77th minute when Foden played a through ball to substitute Emile Smith Rowe, who put in a powerful low cross which fell in the path of Brewster who completed his hat-trick by passing the ball into the back of the net to seal the match for England. Foden was having fun on the day and almost added another four minutes later when his right-footed attempt sailed just over the bar.
Brazil looked demoralized after the third goal and didn’t give their all in attempting to overturn the score, as England strolled through in the end and convincingly sealed their berth in the final of the U-17 World Cup.
Two goals from Abel Ruiz, and another courtesy of Ferran Torres, in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday were enough to prevent the African champions from reaching back-to-back finals.
Watch Mali 0-2 Spain Highlights
Spain started brightly but were kept honest by a counter-attacking Mali, who saw Lassana N’Diaye clip the outside of the post inside the first ten minutes. However, the European champions were given an opening they did not spurn as captain Ruiz converted from the penalty spot after Cesar Gelabert was felled.
Mali were not cowed, pressing Spain and playing on the front foot, though this ultimately brought about La Rojita’s second. Gelabert again was the instigator, feeding Ruiz with a superb pass to see the No9 slot round the keeper from 20 yards.
Mali were far from beaten, though, playing with energy and positivity. They came desperately close to halving the deficit when Cheick Oumar Doucoure rattled the bar, but a slick move at the other end saw Ruiz and Sergio Gomez combine before Ferran home.
Hope glimmered for Mali when N’Diaye slotted home smartly with 15 minutes to go, but Spain held firm to reach the tournament finale.
Published: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:26 PM IST