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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

FIFA U-17 World Cup: Rhian Brewster goal came at perfect time - England coach

England sealed their maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup title as they defeated Spain 5-2 in the final at Kolkata and according to coach Steve Cooper, there was no real panic even when England were trailing 0-2

fifa-u17-world-cup-2017 Updated: Nov 01, 2017 08:34 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Rhian Brewster scored a goal for England in the first half and it boosted the side as they came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Spain 5-2 in the FIFA U-17 World Cup final in Kolkata.
Rhian Brewster scored a goal for England in the first half and it boosted the side as they came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Spain 5-2 in the FIFA U-17 World Cup final in Kolkata.(REUTERS)

Steve Cooper, who came to Saturday’s media conference with the World Cup, and Santiago Denia, who couldn’t, agreed that Rhian Brewster’s goal had a telling effect on the final of this Fifa under-17 World Cup.

“It came at a perfect time and gave the boys a boost. We came out earlier in the second half raring to go after having the last kick in the first from a free-kick,” said Cooper about the strike that made it 1-2 for England.

“Their first goal really hurt us,” said Denia, the Spain coach.

‘Didn’t panic’

Cooper said he felt England had trailed 0-2 “against the run of play” and hence they never thought they were out of the game. “There was no real panic,” he said, after Saturday’s 5-2 win.

“We should have scored in the first minute, was it? We took the initiative… pressed a lot higher and played forward a lot more. We were in control even after being 2-0 down. Our half-time talk was positive because we played good football without that cutting edge. The talk was: ‘let’s have a little bit of quality and make a final. Let’s get some shots on goal.’ And we scored four in the second half. All credit to the boys,” said Cooper.

‘Good work being done in England’

Fittingly after the final flourish, Cooper again spoke about the development work in England which doesn’t really show in the Premiership.

“This trophy is dedicated to the good work being done in England, the academies and the young players being developed. These players have been in the system for four-five years now and they have been on a journey where lot of work has gone into them from different coaches. So, for me it’s recognition of where English football wants to go. To think of we are the holders of the under-17 and under-20 World Cup is, for me, pretty special,” said Cooper.

And Cooper said all this after starting out by saying that he was speechless. “It feels a bit surreal and maybe tomorrow, I will have a better idea. Once what we have done sinks in,” he said.

Broken-hearted, says Denia

Till it was 3-2, Denia felt the scoreline reflected how the match was going. “I am broken-hearted now. Then (chasing the game), we had to go forward and when you do that, sometimes you leave space. We had a chance to make it 3-3 from a set-piece but we didn’t. After the fourth goal, it was over,” said Denia.

After Spain were 2-0 up, Denia said, “we got the illusion of being able to manage the match because England were leaving spaces at the back. But then England stepped forward and began pressing us. At half-time, the team talk was about finding those spaces again but we couldn’t take control as much as we would have liked to.”

Denia said he knew England would be dangerous on the left through Callum Hudson-Odoi in the main and had told the boys to defend as a team. “But they also have players who are very good technically, so it is not just about being able to neutralise the wings. And they had more physical presence,” he said.

First Published: Oct 29, 2017 09:38 IST

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