FIFA U17 World Cup: Young Lions maul 'Little Red Ones' as England thump 4 past Chile
The Young Lions roared at their loudest as they thumped four past Chile in their first FIFA U17 World Cup game at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. In an evening mixed with anticipation and excitement, England's next big star, Jadon Sancho, shined the brightest with an awe-inspiring performance that was topped off with a brace.
Sancho, who was at the heart of almost every attack, was substituted after the 77th minute and went off to a roaring applause from the entire stadium, but coach Steve Cooper, who was tight-lipped about Sancho's duration of stay, believes it's more about the team as a whole rather than the individual talents.
"We had the best possible start tonight and all the players played really well," he said.
"In a scoreline of 4-0, we have scored some great goals, but also kept a clean sheet. As I have said earlier, it's a collective team performance, we don't just focus on one player," said the coach.
Cooper, who was really pleased with the result, stressed the importance of the new and improved style that the English national side are following. "It's a good scoreline. I think the biggest plus tonight is sometimes we forget the age of the players and for an occasion like this the way they handled it and got the result, great credit to them. We controlled the game from start to finish.We played in the style that we want our England teams to play with. It's a recognition of the good work that is being done both at St.George's Park and at the respective academies," he said.
England, whose creative spark was reignited by the introduction of star Angel Gomes in the 67th minute, were handed a boost as Chile's keeper Julio Borquez was sent off for a clumsy challenge outside the box and the Manchester United man made the most of his opportunity.
Gomes slotted in the freekick to the top right corner and wheeled away to his joy and to the applause of the crowd. Cooper, when asked about why Gomes didn't start, said: "We have 21 players that we feel could play the level we want them to play. Tournament football is all about utilizing the squad which showed today with the changes we made. This was a good example of using 14 of the 21 players we got."
England, who are one of the tournament favourites, looked all charged up after a positive display as they talked to the press. Cooper seemed happy with his side's overall performance and feels his side will be raring to go against Mexico in the next match and would be hoping that they could carry this winning momentum with them and maybe even go all the way in the tournament.