Shootout success sends young Lions through

England’s youngsters advanced into the quarter-finals at the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in India following a penalty shootout victory over Japan in Kolkata.

Four representatives from the Chelsea Academy featured from the start for Steve Cooper’s side, who had won all three of their group games prior to the last-16 contest. Marc Guehi (pictured top) and Jon Panzo lined up in the centre and left-side of defence respectively, while George McEachran (pictured below) anchored in central midfield and Callum Hudson-Odoi started on the left flank. Conor Gallagher was an unused substitute.

The young Lions enjoyed more possession but clear-cut opportunities were split fairly evenly between the two sides across the 90 minutes, with the Japanese coming strong in the second period. Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster hit the post prior to the interval, while Hudson-Odoi teed up a flurry of chances from out wide that lacked the necessary finish from inside the 18-yard box.

One particular moment of magic saw the 16-year-old skip away from the right-back with pace and skill before he rolled a ball across the face of goal that ought to have been turned in from close range.

It finished goalless in normal time so a shootout was required to determine which side would progress. England were faultless from 12 yards, netting all five of their spot-kicks, with Hudson-Odoi’s precise low effort buried into the bottom corner. Manchester City goalkeeper Curtis Anderson then took centre stage in saving Japan’s third attempt and scoring himself, before Nya Kirby slotted in the winning kick.

England will now face USA in the quarter-finals this Saturday 21 October. Mali, Spain, Iran and Germany make up the last-eight pack, with Ghana versus Niger and Brazil against Honduras scheduled for tomorrow to complete the line-up.