The spotlight is on the protagonists, and certainly, they’ll try to steal the amazement from your eyes. Don’t miss them. Not here, not on the pitch.
The grand finale of the first ever FIFA World Cup on Indian soil is just hours away and the tournament has already made a buzz on all fronts. This edition of the tournament is set to break a few notable records, especially the total attendance feat which was previously held by India’s neighbours, China, in the maiden feature in 1985. Apart from this, it is the first time that both the finalists are from the European continent, indicating where the trophy will head to.
Regardless of the tournament’s Under-17 status, it has been well received by the Indian masses and having a strong base towards the La Liga and Premier League sides, the Indian fans have backed up England and Spain whole-heartedly. Both the teams host 33 players from a total of 46 players of the 2 squads who are futures of Real Madrid, Barcelona, the Manchester clubs, Borussia Dortmund and other European giants.
Take a look at the five best youngsters that are expected to bolt their opposition away in the Final showdown.
Philip Foden’s style of play reminds of a younger David Silva to many. The sleek winger is a left footed-player and always has a drive to cut in and trouble the defence. In the 6 matches of the tournament so far, the City-zen has impressed by keeping everything as simple as possible. Though he could not score many goals, owing to the limelight of Jadon Sancho and the essence of Brewster, he has never failed to perform.
FIFA TV Highlights: England 3-1 Brazil
So far, he has scored and assisted a goal and has created as many as six chances. The highlight of his performance is, despite being deployed on either wing, he has not failed to register shots on goal in any of the matches. He has the drive to keep the opposition defenders under pressure and the goalkeeper by creating chances.
Sergio Gomez is a vital piece of the Spanish system and it is visible how his work rate has affected the gameplay of the whole team in the previous games. The Barcelona youngster is capable of playing on either of the wings and in the hole with equal efficiency and composure. His matureness of the game is because of his exploits in the U-17 European tournament.
In this tournament, of the 6 games he has played so far, He has been able to affect each one of them. He has scored 2 and has assisted 3, also creating as many as 5 chances. His link-up play with Spanish captain Abel Ruiz is extraordinary and has troubled every defence.
In the breed of English goalkeepers, Curtis Anderson is steadily making a reputation as a contender for future ensurers. The sole reason of England’s road to Kolkata final was the penalty save by Anderson against Japan after a tiring evening for the Three Lions.
Though he was dropped in the last group game, he has managed to keep two clean sheets and out of the 19 shots that he has faced, 15 were saved. The security of England against Spain will majorly depend on the confidence and the performance of Manchester City’s young goalkeeper.
Touted as the future of Barcelona and Spain, Abel Ruiz has somehow lived up to the expectations through his performances in Europe and at the World Cup. He was the European champion with the U17 Spain team, captaining them through the tournament. He is the sole striker of the team who spearheads almost every attack for the La Roja.
FIFA TV Highlights: Spain 3-1 Mali
Statistically, he has scored 6 goals in 6 games and poses a constant threat for the opposition defences. He has a knack of drifting the defence wide in order to create space for the follow-up players and scores goals at ease.
Before the start of the tournament, several media houses speculated various players who would go on to become the top scorers of the tournament, but the Liverpool prodigy came out of syllabus. Rhian Brewster is the top scorer of the tournament with 7 goals and an assist. One of the highlighting factors is that he has a minimum of 3 shot attempts each game, showing his determination and hard work.
Brewster did not perform supremely until the Round of 16 games, scoring and assisting just once in the first four games. Before he got into his groove, Borussia Dortmund No. 7 Jadon Sancho ran the show for the Lions. Ever since the team reached the quarter-finals, Brewster has risen to the grand occasion and has carried his team to the final by scoring 6 goals in 2 games.
WILDCARD: Angel Gomes
Angel Gomes was easily the most popular player in the English squad, at least in the host nation. Having already made the senior debut for the Red Devils, Angel Gomes, along with Jadon Sancho, came to India as the poster boys of the squad but the English coach’s system did not support Gomes’ style of play. Steve Cooper’s 4-3-3 play does not need a number 10 with a slow build-up style gameplay who is more into creating rather than running forward with the ball on his feet.
Even after being just a squad player, he has played in 4 games with a playing time of 209 minutes, scoring a couple and creating a few chances. He is England’s free-kick specialist and knows how to strike the ball behind the keeper. Angel Gomes is our wild card because he’s certainly Steve Cooper’s best option from the bench, if he does not start.