After just half an hour, Spain’s U17s were already 2-0 up against an England team that had showed such promise in the earlier stages. Still, the deficit was still not enough to deflate England’s supreme attacking prowess, with Rhian Brewster’s goal just before half-time laying the foundations for a spirited comeback in the second half.
After the interval, the Spanish were silenced by Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi, England’s unconquerable attacking duo. Following Morgan Gibbs-White’s equaliser, Foden’s two second half goals bookended Marc Guehi’s fourth to bring the score line to 5-2 in England’s favour.
England looked their most deadly when utilising the wings. Steven Sessegnon’s deep cross found Jordan Brewster at the back post to begin the comeback. It was Brewster’s eighth goal of the tournament, as he soared to the coveted golden boot. Sessegnon again provided the assist via a cross for Gibbs-White’s equaliser before England took the lead through the combination of Hudson-Odoi and Foden. Hudson-Odoi skilfully disposed of Moha Moukhliss before picking out Foden at the back post to coolly slot home their third goal.
“The scoring was concluded by Hudson-Odoi and Foden combining once more, a fitting curtain closer for England’s two star players.”
But instead of defending their lead, England strode on confidently. The marauding, pacy attacking play continued to terrorise the Spanish defence, eventually forcing Jaume to bundle Hudson-Odoi to the ground in a desperate attempt to curb the onslaught. The subsequent free kick found captain Joel Latibeaudiere at the back post, who selflessly headed the ball down into the six-yard box melee. Marc Guehi eventually stabbed it home to put the result beyond doubt with six minutes remaining.
The scoring was concluded by Hudson-Odoi and Foden combining once more, a fitting curtain closer for England’s two star players. Hudson-Odoi’s searching ball bypassed the Spanish defence to find Foden in space. As he raced into the area, what followed seemed like a foregone conclusion. Seconds later, the net bulged, with the majority of the England squad celebrating on the running track outside the pitch much to the delight of the travelling fans.
For England fans, these are rare scenes but 2017 has been surprisingly different. The U17s join the U20s in triumphing at a World Cup tournament in 2017. Add to that the U19s’ European Championship win, the U21s’ second successive victory at the Toulon Tournament and a run to the semi-finals at the European Championships and the women’s national team’s run to the semi-finals of the European Championships, and it’s been an incredibly successful year for English football. With four year groups excelling at international level, the future of England’s senior level prospects look extremely bright.