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England on top of the world

WINNERS: England's young players celebrate their famous win

ENGLAND ARE Under-20 world champions after Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal decided a dramatic final in Suwon. In a first half the Young Lions edged, Calvert-Lewin notched 10 minutes before the interval.

After the break Venezuela were much-improved and Adalberto Penaranda earned a penalty, but he was denied by Freddie Woodman from 12 yards as the Young Lions held on for an historic victory.

Never before had England reached the final of this tournament, in fact they had not won a game in this format since 1997.
But coach Paul Simpson has said throughout his squad’s stay in Korea he wanted to “change perceptions” and England have done just that, reaching the final with victories over Argentina, Italy and hosts Korea along the way.

In Venezuela they came up against a team who have been just as impressive in their half of the draw. But England were on the front foot from the off, typified by a brilliant driving run from Josh Onomah, back at the heart of midfield having missed the semi-final through suspension, who drove through the centre of the pitch, laid off a pass to Dominic Solanke who dragged a shot wide.

Chances were not so forthcoming at the other end in the first 20 minutes as England defended resolutely, but when Ronaldo Pena found some rare space in the final third he spooned a long-range effort harmlessly over the crossbar.

Midway through the first half the ever-impressive Ademola Lookman forced a super save from Farinez, diving to his right to beat away the Everton forward’s shot from the edge of the box.

On 24 minutes Ronaldo Lucena lined up a free-kick 40 yards from goal and as keeper Woodman positioned himself to deal with a ball into the box, the Venezuela midfielder opted to shoot and saw his effort clip the post.

England though, had been the better of the two sides and were good value for their lead, earned by Calvert-Lewin. The Everton man rose above defender Nahuel Ferraresi to take Lewis Cook’s free-kick into his path. Calvert-Lewin struck a fierce half-volley that keeper Farinez could only push straight back into his direction, and he kept his composure to tuck in the rebound at the near post.

Venezuela were quickest out in the blocks in the second half and Woodman raced off his line to deny Sergio Cordova at close quarters as the South American side exploited rare space inside the England box.

The Newcastle keeper then held Yangel Herrera’s header, after the captain got free at a corner.

England were up against it, but Onomah almost relieved the pressure in perfect fashion, a wonderfully struck 30-yard effort hit the crossbar and bounced down on the goal-line, then clear from danger.

With 16 minutes left on the clock referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the penalty spot after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee, with Jake Clarke-Salter penalised for a foul. Venezuela’s star man Adalberto Penaranda struck straight down the centre of the goal and though Woodman dived to his right, he was able to outstretch his left arm and claw the spot-kick away.

In stoppage time, keeper Farinez, up at a corner, saw the ball land in his path, but rather than pass he chose to shoot from the edge of the box and his effort went wide.

England: 1 Freddie Woodman (Newcastle United); 2 Jonjoe Kenny (Everton), 5 Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), 6 Jake Clarke-Salter (Chelsea), 14 Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham Hotspur); 4 Lewis Cook (capt; Bournemouth), 7 Josh Onomah (Tottenham Hotspur); 11 Ademola Lookman (Everton), 10 Dominic Solanke (Chelsea), 18 Kieran Dowell (Everton); 16 Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)

Substitutes: 19 Sheyi Ojo (Liverpool) for Dowell 62, 8 Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) for Lookman 76

Substitutes not used: 13 Dean Henderson (Manchester United), 21 Luke Southwood (Reading), 3 Callum Connolly (Everton), 9 Adam Armstrong (Newcastle United), 12 Ezri Konsa (Charlton Athletic), 15 Dael Fry (Middlesbrough), 17 Harry Chapman (Middlesbrough), 20 Ovie Ejaria (Liverpool)

This article appears on www.thefa.com

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