England U17s crowned World Cup champions
news Sat 28 Oct 2017
Five Chelsea Academy youngsters featured as England overturned a two-goal deficit to beat Spain 5-2 in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup final.
Manager Steve Cooper named an unchanged starting 11 from the 3-1 semi-final win over Brazil as Marc Guehi and Jon Panzo lined up in defence, George McEachran as the deep midfield controller and Callum Hudson-Odoi down the left flank. Conor Gallagher was a late substitute as Chelsea contributed a quarter of the young Lions to have played at the tournament.
England were 2-0 down after half an hour in Kolkata as Sergio Gomez struck twice to give the Spaniards a clear advantage. Many of the players had featured in the U-17 European Championship final in May, when Cooper’s side conceded a 96th-minute equaliser before Spain won on penalties.
Those memories will have been firmly in the minds of England players but they fought back bravely and reduced the deficit before half-time though Rhian Brewster, the tournament’s top goalscorer. Hudson-Odoi had earlier struck the base of the post as the young Lions responded with belief and quality.
The second half saw England launch a stunning comeback, with Hudson-Odoi chief creator and Guehi among the goalscorers. Our 16-year-old forward supplied the cross for Morgan Gibbs-White to equalise after an hour before Manchester City’s Phil Foden, impressive throughout the tournament, netted the first of his brace to put England in front for the first time.
Guehi, an ever-present in India, made it 4-2 with six minutes remaining, turning in a loose ball from five yards out after Spain failed to clear Hudson-Odoi’s free-kick from the left. An added gloss was added to the scoreline moments later as Foden added a fifth, Hudson-Odoi again supplying from the left for the City man to fire past the goalkeeper.
It means England have now won two World Cup titles in four months, the Under-17 triumph following on from success at the Under-20 finals in the summer. All five Chelsea representatives with the Under-17s have been in our Academy since the age of eight and Neil Bath, Head of Youth Development at the club, had words of praise for the achievement.
‘We’re all delighted to see the boys win a World Cup and the fact that all five have been at the club since joining the Academy as Under-9s makes it even more special,' he told the official Chelsea website. 'All the staff, players and parents will be rightly proud to see such an amazing achievement.
‘To come back from 2-0 down and score five goals shows incredible character and to watch that performance and result, for somebody who has been in youth development for many years, was quite overwhelming.
‘Following on from a summer of successes for England youth teams, a huge congratulations must go to the FA and obviously the fact we at Chelsea have played a part is something everybody at the club should be proud of.’