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Tuesday, Sep 24, 2019

FIFA U-17 World Cup: We can match or better any team, says England coach

What was pleasing about the 3-1 win against Brazil is that England could achieve it by playing their way, coach Steve Cooper said after his team booked a berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup final

fifa-u17-world-cup-2017 Updated: Oct 26, 2017 10:05 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
England players celebrate their win over Brazil in Wednesday’s FIFA U-17 World Cup semi-final in Kolkata.
England players celebrate their win over Brazil in Wednesday’s FIFA U-17 World Cup semi-final in Kolkata.(REUTERS)

To have scored thrice against a team that conceded only two goals so far is proof why Steve Cooper reposes so much faith in this England team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

“I really believe in my players. We can match any team or better them. But you have got to work hard for that. You are never going to be comfortable in a World Cup semi-final but I am really pleased with the character and the mentality the boys showed,” said Cooper here on Saturday after the 3-1 win against Brazil took England to their maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup final.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: ‘Dream come true’ for Rhian Brewster as England reach final

What was more pleasing was that the boys did it the way England want to, said Cooper. “We want the ball, we want to play forward. It doesn’t always happen because of the quality of the opposition but we got our positioning right and managed the game perfectly. In the way the boys got into positions and made good decisions, they can take a lot of pride and satisfaction,” said Cooper.

And he again set great store by the development work at the FA and the clubs’ academies. “We are part of the bigger picture; the goal is to win a senior World Cup and European championships. We want to be as successful as possible in every tournament we play but we also need these players to go back to England as better players,” said Cooper.

‘England deserved to win’

Brazil exiting a World Cup usually means angry journalists putting their coach through a charcoal grill. But perhaps because this is an under-17 World Cup being held a world away from home that Carlos Amadeu wasn’t put through the ringer.

Amadeu admitted England were “efficient” and “enjoyed many opportunities.” “England deserved to win,” he said. At another time, Amadeu said: “We had a good match but England were better. They are a really well trained team.”

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Spain beat Mali 3-1 to set up historic all-European final

“We couldn’t take our chances and they exploited every mistake we made. We have made mistakes earlier too but maybe, the other team couldn’t capitalise on it,” said Amadeu.

The coach said Brenner’s first half miss wasn’t a pivotal point in the game because “football matches are won and lost over 90 minutes.” Replying to another question though Amadeu listed that and other misses --- Lincoln’s inability to put a delivery in, Paulinho’s poor decision making when Alan was better placed --- as the reason for defeat.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 09:59 IST