FIFA U-17 World Cup: England survive Mexican wave, advance to round of 16
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FIFA U-17 World Cup: England survive Mexican wave, advance to round of 16

England beat Mexico 3-2 in their FIFA U-17 World Cup match to advance into the next round. Rhian Brewster, Philip Foden and Jadon Sancho scored for England while Diego Lainez struck twice for Mexico

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 11, 2017 23:41 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA Under-17 World Cup,England vs Mexico
England's Jadon Sancho celebrates after scoring against Mexico in their FIFA U-17 World Cup group match in Kolkata on Wednesday. (AP)

Why didn’t you just belt it? Gareth Southgate, the current England senior team coach, was famously asked by his mother Barbara after the 1996 Euro semi-final. (Highlights)

Rhian Brewster’s mum wouldn’t be faulted if she asked her son why he did belt it when, six minutes into Mexico game, a tap-in would have put England ahead.

Brewster though made amends and how! Then, finding space, Philip Foden showed what a left foot he has ending a slick three-pass move with a shot that streaked like lightning into Cesar Lopez’s goal in the 48th minute. Crowd favourite Jadon Sancho, under heavy Mexican police bandobast for most of the match, had set that move going. Sancho got his name again on the scoresheet with a 55th minute penalty after his cross hit Carlos Robles’ hand.

But just as it seemed Steve Copper’s boys were having fun --- check Foden’s turn and run – Mexico brought this contest alive and got the 40,000-odd crowd to switch loyalties.

A deflection from Joel Latibeaudiere helped Diego Lainez make it 1-3 in the 65th after George McEachran was harried off the ball by the boy they call ‘Messi’ back home. Roberto de la Rosa then capped a strong run to find Lainez and he arrowed a shot that made it 2-3 in the 72nd. Had De la Rosa’s free header been on target this would have been some comeback story.

It didn’t and England entered the second round with six points from two games in group F. Mexico now face a must-win situation against Chile in Guwahati.

“Let’s not forget that we were outstanding for an hour or so. This kind of thing happens with junior players but we didn’t crumble. We will learn from this,” said England coach Steve Cooper.

Brewster strikes

The free-kick in the 39th minute was in Angel Gomes’ territory but on the day Sir Bobby Charlton stepped into his ninth decade, the Manchester United player again started on the bench. Up stepped Brewster and curled it into the top corner. Maybe the Liverpool FC lad prefers the spectacular over the simple.

England had again got off the blocks faster but with Alexis Gutierrez and Luis Gamiz stifling them in the middle and Mexico slowing the pace, this gradually began to look like a boxing match; hits to the body while looking for that knockout punch. Barring Brewster’s miss and a Lainez going through Timothy Eyoma and Foden that is.

It changed in the second half with four goals being shared. “We were just a little away from getting a point or even winning,” said Lainez.

First Published: Oct 11, 2017 23:19 IST