England U18s were held to a 0-0 draw against Brazil in an international friendly at Shrewsbury Town on Friday night.
It was a promising performance from Steve Cooper’s Young Lions as they prepare for the FIFA U17 World Cup, for which they qualified by finishing as runners-up at the U17 European Championships this summer.
- An U18 International
- Friday 1 September 2017
- Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury Town FC
- By Amy Hart
After a nervous opening minute, Cooper’s side took time to compose themselves and settled into the game, controlling much of the possession early in the first half. They rapidly gained confidence, passing the ball maturely and frequently pressing the Brazilians in their own half.
England had their first clear chance in the 27th minute, with Rhian Brewster unable to connect in front of goal, but the Young Lions seemed bolstered by the opening. Brazil came back with a decent attempt on goal in the 30th minute, which was confidently handled by Manchester City keeper Curtis Anderson.
A lively and fairly evenly matched contest for much of the first half, Cooper’s side pressed hard in the closing minutes before the break, but were unable to convert Nya Kirby’s 43rd minute corner won by captain Angel Gomes.
The Brazilians started the second half with purpose – having made three changes at the interval – playing wide and moving the ball forward, but England quickly picked up their pace to match.
A scramble in the box in the 50th minute was followed by a high ball from Phil Foden which was edged just over the bar by Brazilian keeper Gabriel Brazao. Two further strikes on target from Brewster and Kirby swiftly followed to force saves, and clever footwork from Gomes saw him breakthrough in the box, but he was left unable make it through the Brazilian defence. A clever chip from Gomes in the 56th minute left Kirby with a chance at goal, but he couldn’t quite convert and struck wide.
The crowd were thrilled by another England chance following an expertly placed long ball from Kirby to Foden on the wing.
In the frantic final minutes, a free-kick from Foden was blasted over the bar – his frustration palpable – as England dug deep for a deserved but elusive goal. Brazil’s Weverson narrowly avoided netting the ball into his own goal in the 86th minute, giving England a corner, but once again they couldn’t find their way past the Brazilian defence. The Young Lions will feel they deserved more, but will be heartened by their performance.
At the conclusion of the match, both teams staged a practice penalty shoot-out to the thrill of the 1,876-strong crowd, with England coming out on top by 5-4.
Cooper’s side face South Africa at Leek Town in a second international friendly on Monday 4 September, before their U17 World Cup campaign begins in India in October.
England (4-3-2-1): 1 Curtis Anderson (Manchester City); 2 Timothy Eyoma (Tottenham Hotspur), 5 Joel Latibeaudiere (Manchester City), 6 Marc Guehi (Chelsea), 3 Jonathan Panzo (Chelsea); 4 George McEachran (Chelsea), 8 Tashan Oakley-Boothe (Tottenham Hotspur); 7 Phil Foden (Manchester City), 10 Angel Gomes (c) (Manchester United), 11 Nya Kirby (Crystal Palace); 9 Rhian Brewster (Liverpool).
Substitutions: 18 Emile Smith-Rowe (Arsenal) for Angel Gomes (68), 17 Daniel Loader (Reading) for Rhian Brewster (76)
Substitutes not used: 12 Jake Vokins (Southampton), 13 Joseph Bursik (Stoke City), 14 Lewis Gibson (Everton), 15 Kane Wilson (West Bromwich Albion, on loan at Exeter City), 16 Aiden Barlow (Manchester United), 19 Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur), 21 Matt O’Riley (Fulham)
Yellow cards: Luan Candido (25)
Head coach: Steve Cooper