FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: A look back at England's Road to the Final in Kolkata
Given the way they have been playing for the past two weeks, it must come as a surprise to no one that England are in the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup this year
Given the way they have been playing for the past two weeks, it must come as a surprise to no one that England are in the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup this year. Their brand of incisive football has at times blown apart teams — like Chile in their opening fixture — while on other occasions, they have politely taken rivals to the door and shown them out.
Making it out of the group stage itself was considered to be tricky, given that England were drawn in the proverbial Group of Death against teams of the calibre of North American champions Mexico, runners-up in the uber-competitive South American championships, Chile, and Asian title winners Iraq. But they sidestepped the potential banana-skin that was the group stage with elan, beginning with a 4-0 thumping of Chile in their opener.
They were given an almighty scare in the next game by Mexico who, after being 3-0 down on 55 minutes, came back into the game with a brace from Diego Lainez. However, England clung to the game by their fingernails to assure themselves a spot into the knockout stages. They seemed more composed in the next match against Iraq, dispatching the Asian champions 4-0 to make it to the knockout stages with a perfect record.
In the Round of 16 encounter against Japan, England needed the penalty shootout to rubber stamp their entry into the quarters after being held to a 0-0 draw in regulation time.
While their forwards had a rare off-day against Japan, their quarter-final opponents, USA, bore the full brunt of England's attacking nous with Liverpool teenager Rhian Brewster particularly clinical in a match-winning performance. Brewster was at it again in the semis, scoring all three of England's goal against Brazil to take England into their maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup final.
Here's the full rundown of how England got to the final:
Romelu Lukaku broke the deadlock for Chelsea after 69 minutes at Stamford Bridge to earn the holders a 1-0 victory over Zenit, whose Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg is the venue for next May's final.
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United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the 36-year-old forward would feature "at some point" in Saturday's fixture against Newcastle United
The 36-year-old striker, who left United to join Real Madrid in 2009, has been training with his new team-mates for the past few days.