The Group F opener proved to be a footballing masterclass from the English.
England rolled through a disappointing Chile side as they won 4-0 in the first match of Group F in the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata. A brace for the terrific Jadon Sancho and a goal a piece for Callum Hudson-Odoi and Angel Gomes completed the route for England, who justified their “favourites” tag by outclassing this Chile side who looked extremely weak on the day.
It was a wet and humid day in the City of Joy, but that didn’t dampen the people of Kolkata who turned up in huge numbers to watch the team’s play. Chile missed out on their star player Branco Provoste for the match due to an injury, while Manchester United youngster Gomes started from the bench with England opting for what looked like a 4-2-3-1 formation. The match got off to quite the thrilling start with both teams attacking from the word go. But England took the lead in the 5th minute after a great move through the left, as Jadon Sancho sent Callum Hudson-Odoi through on goal who then drafted the ball into the bottom left corner.
England looked in control of the game with both Sancho and Hudson-Odoi continuing to threaten Chile. The latter showed some impressive skills in the 16th minute, but his left foot shot went sailing over. English midfielder George McEachran played a decent one-two with Hudson-Odoi two minutes later and lofted a cross for Rhian Brewster, who couldn’t keep his shot on target. Steve Cooper’s boys weren’t letting Chile get a sniff at goal and kept pushing for another, with right-back Timothy Timothy Eyoma delivering a good cross from the right for Brewster in the 24th minute, whose header went wide.
Phil Foden was enjoying himself on the pitch and produced a moment of brilliance in the 31st minute when he breezed past some Chilean defenders and laid a ball for Brewstar, whose shot was superbly saved by Julio Borquez. Chile somehow managed to mount an attack in the 35th minute when Maximiliano Guerrero found some space in midfield and let rip a vicious shot, which just sailed over Curtis Anderson’s bar. That gave them some confidence as they got a corner which was sent in well and found the head of Ignacio Mesias, whose thumping header went over.
Sancho was continuously being a menace for Chile, as he found some space in the 44th minute and let out a curling attempt, which was parried away by Borquez and England went into the break clearly the better team.
Chile tried to begin the 2nd half on the attack, but their hearts were broken when England mounted an impressive move in the 51st through the right wing through Brewster, whose pass was a routine save for Borquez, but a terrible hash by the keeper laid it on a plate for Sancho who passed it in into the net to double England’s lead. They piled more misery on Chile and in the 59th minute, McEachran stole the ball in midfield and went on a beautiful run through the middle before laying the ball for Sancho, who completed his brace with a calm finish.
Things got even better for England after starlet Gomes came on, as he played a beautiful one-two with McEachran in the 68th minute, with the latter providing a beautiful ball for Brewster who failed to convert from close range. But, the danger wasn’t averted after that as England regained possession and Foden found himself soaring through to an open goal inside the box, but his shot was well saved by Borquez.
It went from bad to worse for Chile when Borquez was sent off for a rash challenge on Brewster outside the box in the 77th minute. As they had completed three subs, substitute Provoste had to fill in as the goalkeeper. Angel Gomes stepped in to take the corresponding free-kick and hit a beautiful shot which curled into the top left corner as England were absolutely destroying the Chileans.
Steve Cooper’s boys continued their domination of possession and almost scored one more in the 90th minute when Morgan Gibbs White went on a terrific run and hit a powerful shot, which rattled the bar and out. This masterful display has definitely asserted them as favourites to win the group, with Chile having a lot of work to do on this dreadful day.
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: England 4-0 Chile
Meanwhile, in the other game, Iraq and Mexico played out a 1-1 draw. Iraq took the lead in the first half through Mohammed Dawood, but that was cancelled out in the 2nd half when Mexico got some help from lady luck for Roberto De La Rosa to score the equalizer.
Mexico looked the better team for most of the match and were especially threatening in the 2nd half. But they couldn’t force a winner against this stubborn Iraq side, who withstood the constant attacks and salvaged a point thanks to the heroics of their brilliant young goalkeeper Ali Ibadi.
So England is on top of Group F after their devastating win against Chile, who are in the last place. Iraq and Mexico stand tied at second in the group as there’s still a lot to play for in the group. England takes on Iraq on Wednesday in the second match-day for the group, while Chile will desperately look to get all three points against Mexico.