KOLKATA: England face Spain in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 final on Saturday as they look to follow in the footsteps of England U-20 team who cliched the FIFA U-20 World Cup in June.
England, who waited for 51-years to get their hands on a global trophy since winning the FIFA World Cup in 1966, now have a chance to create history by winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup and FIFA U-17 World Cup in the same year.
Steve Cooper’s Young Lions have won six of their six games on-route to the final at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata.
They topped Group F ahead of two-time champions Mexico, Chile and Iraq before ousting Japan, USA and hot favourites Brazil in the knockout stages.
“We will do what we have been doing,” said Cooper . “It’s been successful so far and we will continue to do that.”
“I expect the final to be a very compact, very technical and very tactical match because two sets of great players will be on the pitch but I am not going to focus on Spain, I have never focused on any team we have played. I have a great deal of faith in my team to perform the task. If we win, it’s because we deserve to win it,” he added.
The championship clash of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 will be a repeat of the 2017 UEFA U-17 Championship final which the Spaniards triumphed after a penalty shootout in May.
However, Cooper believes that the result in Croatia will have little bearing on the outcome of the final.
“The previous game goes out the window. You realize every moment is so crucial in a big game. It’s about which team can execute the best on the day. I think it’s an advantage for us because we have played them not very long ago, we know Spain’s strengths and weaknesses,” he concluded.
The most identifiable thing about England’s game is possession. They love to have the ball at their feet. Against Brazil it seemed like they had purpose every time they had the ball. Morgan Gibbs-White was fantastic in stopping the Brazilian attacks and allowing Callum Hudson-Odoi especially Phil Foden to attack the Brazil defense time and time again.
The Young Lions, far from brilliant this tournament but with a perfect six for six record in this FIFA U-17 World Cup and one Rhian Brewster who seems to be there when England need him the most.