England began their FIFA U17 World Cup campaign with an impressive 4-0 win over Chile.
Borussia Dortmund new boy Jadon Sancho set up Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi for a fifth-minute opener, before bagging a second-half brace himself.
And Manchester United youngster Angel Gomes came off the bench to curl home a free-kick late on after Chile goalkeeper Julio Borquez had been sent off.
- FIFA U17 World Cup
- Group F
- Sunday 8 October 2017
- Kolkata, India
The Young Lions made it to India 2017 by finishing runners-up at this summer’s European Championship, just missing out on the gold medal after an agonising penalty shoot-out defeat by Spain.
Their opening-day opponents were runners-up to Brazil in the South American equivalent so Cooper’s men knew they’d be in for a test in Kolkata.
There were three changes to the England side that lost to Spain in May, with Manchester City’s Curtis Anderson and Tottenham Hotspur duo Timothy Eyoma and Tashan Oakley-Booth coming in for Josef Bursik, Lewis Gibson and Alex Denny.
But the alterations did not have an impact as the Young Lions got off to a dream start.
Livewire Sancho, who recently left Manchester City for Germany, cut in-field onto his right foot and played Hudson-Odoi into the left-hand side of the box.
The Chelsea forward collected the pass in his stride, opened his body up and stroked the ball low into the far corner to give England an early lead.
The goal helped them settle and they gradually began to control proceedings with Sancho looking dangerous every time he received the ball. He came close to getting himself on the scoresheet midway through the first half only to be denied by a flying stop from Borquez.
Chelsea midfielder George McEachran, younger brother of former Blue Josh, was typically tidy in possession and he handed Rhian Brewster a glorious chance to double the advantage, curling a delicious cross onto the penalty spot – but the Liverpool forward could only steer his shot off target.
Brewster had two more chances before the break, heading the first one wide before his angled chip was blocked by Borquez.
Chile rallied towards the end of the first half with Max Guerrero firing a long-ranger just over the top and then Ignacio Mesias heading an effort just past the angle.
They were made to rue those missed chances shortly after the restart when Sancho punished a mistake by Borquez, who spilled a low cross from the right, to tap home from close range and give England the daylight their performance had merited.
And it got even better for the Young Lions when Sancho extended their lead just before the hour mark – and he had McEachran to thank for creating the chance.
England’s No4 showed tremendous footwork to buy himself a yard of space on the edge of the Chile box before finding Sancho to his left. The Dortmund man side-footed the ball into the far corner to put the result beyond doubt.
Gomes took the armband off Joel Latibeaudiere after he replaced Hudson-Odoi and he was in the thick of the action straightaway.
He clipped a low cross towards Brewster just moments after coming on, but the striker got his feet in a tangle and Sancho couldn’t make amends with the loose ball.
Phil Foden was the next Young Lion to have a sight at goal, but Borquez was again equal to it.
It all went horribly wrong for the Chile goalkeeper with just over ten minutes remaining when he was shown a red card for denying Brewster an obvious goalscoring opportunity.
The South Americans had made all three substitutions so Branco Provoste, an outfield player, had to go in goal.
And no sooner had he put the gloves on than he was picking the ball out of the net as Gomes curled home the subsequent free-kick from 25 yards.
A rampant England were denied a fifth goal when substitute Morgan Gibbs-White struck the foot of the post in added time.
Next up is Mexico on Wednesday afternoon.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Curtis Anderson (Manchester City); 2 Timothy Eyoma (Tottenham Hotspur), 15 Joel Latibeaudiere (capt; Manchester City), 5 Marc Guehi (Chelsea), 6 Jonathan Panzo (Chelsea); 4 George McEachran (Chelsea), 8 Tashan Oakley-Boothe (Tottenham Hotspur); 7 Phil Foden (Manchester City), 14 Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), 11 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund); 9 Rhian Brewster (Liverpool).
Substitutes: 10 Angel Gomes (Manchester United) for Hudson-Odoi 67, 19 Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers) for Oakley-Booth 77, 12 Nya Kirby (Crystal Palace) for Sancho 77.
Substitutes not used: 13 Joe Bursik (Stoke City), 21 Billy Crellin (Fleetwood Town), 3 Lewis Gibson (Everton) , 16 Danny Loader (Reading), 17 Emile Smith-Rowe (Arsenal), 18 Steven Sessegnon (Fulham), 20 Conor Gallagher (Chelsea).
Goals: Hudson-Odoi 5, Sancho 51, 60, Gomes 81.
Bookings: Eyoma 61
Head coach: Steve CooperFor all the latest updates from England's Youth Teams, click here.