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3:53 pm - Sunday February 18, 2018

New champion on cards as Englad, Spain clash

Agencies, Kolkata

All roads of the city of joy will lead to the picturesque Salt Lake Stadium to find an answer: Will Spain be able to break the jinx on the fourth attempt to win World Cup under-17 ? Or will England be able to romp home in their first appearance in the final. But one thing is sure, India will present a new world champion under-17, regardless who prevails after the ninety minutes of scheduled play.

England’s previous best performance in the tournament was reaching the quarter-finals, while Spain are three-time losing finalists (1991 Ghana, 2003 Brazil and 2007 Nigeria). In all European final, both England and Spain sailed into the summit clash in a very similar fashion, edging out three-time winners Brazil 3-1 and Mali 3-1 in Kolkata and Navi Mumbai on Wednesday respectively.

England’s new sensation Rhian Brewster proved Three Lions’ match-winner again with his second consecutive hat-trick in the tournament after against the USA, while Spain captain Abel Ruiz inspired the tiki-taka side with double goal. Now the two teenagers are in the race to win the Golden boots award.

Liverpool lad Brewster has scored seven goals in the tournament and led England to have scored more goals with 18 so far for any side, while Abel Ruiz stood second with six goals so far. Before Brewster came into limelight in Kolkata, in Fifa history under-17 World Cup only three players have scored two hat-tricks in a tournament: Marcel Witeczek (Germany, 1985), Florent Sinama Pongolle (France, 2001) and Souleymane Coulibaly (Côte d’Ivoire, 2011). England’s star-in-the-making Brewster has now joined this elite club.

If Ruiz is the talisman for Spain, England has Rhian Brewster. The Spanish No 9 is the captain and leading goalscorer for La Rojita, and he added another two goals to his haul against Mali. Only two months ago, the Barcelona forward said, “the night we won the European U-17 Championship, I was already dreaming of lifting the World Cup in (India). It would really be a massive dream come true because no Spanish team has ever managed to do it.”

The 17-year-old is now just one win away from that dream becoming a reality. For England the pitch in Kolkata will be the fourth major final for youth team to have made in 2017, according to skipper and stopper Joel Latibeaudiere. He said, ‘’ It has all just provided us with motivation. ” ‘’ 2017 is turning into a remarkable year for England’s youth teams.

The Three Lions have already claimed FIFA U-20 World Cup title and a UEFA European U-19 Championship crown this year. On Wednesday in India, England’s U-17 side took another step to becoming world champions at their level. Before this England have won the World Cup at home in 1966, ‘’ he added. Statiscally England have been winning in India all the last six matches with total 18 goals.

They drew 1-1 against Japan in the last 16 and finally won by tie-breaker. Spain in the Group D plays lost to Brazil. Both European rivals are equally balanced with solid defence, agile midfielders and opportunist strikers. Spain have another technique they would not allow the rivals to hold ball but they would keep the ball under control due to tiki-taka football.

England and Spain edged out Brazil and Mali respectively, with each side inspired by their star strikers Rhian Brewster and Abel Ruiz, who continued their personal duel to win the adidas Golden Boot award, as the tournament’s top scorer.

Steve Cooper boys of England made Brazilians lads fatigue in their bid to come back in the first semifinal match in Kolkata. Comeback kings Brazil had trailed three times to European sides at the tournament and three times managed to hit back. Against Spain and Germany, they turned 1-0 deficits into 2-1 victories, and they also levelled things up at 1-1 against England after falling behind early in Wednesday’s semi-final.

A Seleção could not keep the Three Lions out, however, and will now compete for a bronze medal in Saturday’s match for third place, when the South Americans take on African Mali for the third place in the match to be held at 0500 PM on the same ground. Final will kick off at 8 PM.

Posted in: Sports

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