England sealed their place in the knock-out stages of the U17 World Cup, beating Mexico in a topsy-turvy encounter in Kolkata.
There was never any doubt that the Young Lions were deserved winners, to make it two wins from two games in their group, but they certainly experienced some of the pitfalls of World Cup football along the way.
- FIFA U17 World Cup
- Wednesday 11 October
- Kolkata, India
- Live on Eurosport
A stunning free-kick from Rhian Brewster had given Steve Cooper’s side a half-time advantage before Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho added a quickfire double after the break as England seemed set to cruise to victory.
But when Mexico responded with a double salvo of their own through the impressive Diego Lainez, the Young Lions had to show their character and discipline as the Central Americans threw everything at it in a bid to keep their own World Cup dreams alive.
It wasn’t to be for them though, and England now head into Saturday’s final group match with Iraq knowing they are guaranteed a minimum of second spot in their group and a place in the first knockout round.
After their 4-0 win over Chile on Sunday, England made another confident start and could’ve been ahead inside five minutes, when Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi combined well on the left before the latter’s cross found Brewster at the far post. He just needed to apply the finish, but the Liverpool man saw his effort bounce into the turf and over from close range.
Hudson-Odoi was then denied by Mexican keeper Cesar Lopez, after expertly receiving a pass from Sancho and turning himself into a shooting position.
Brewster broke the deadlock six minutes before the break though, making amends for his earlier miss with a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards.