FIFA U-17 World Cup Final: England and Spain eye history

October 28, 2017

FIFA World Cup


England will look to emulate Brazil by winning U-17 & U-20 Cups in a calendar year, while Spain will aim to lift U-17 Euro and World Cup titles in the same year in today’s U-17 World Cup final

What England is trying to imitate is a style Spain have already mastered! Sample these statistics of the FIFA U-17 World Cup finalists: Spain passed the ball 3,520 times in their six matches while England managed to do it 3,017 times. On an average, Spain had 62.1 per cent of ball possession, which is slightly better than that of England’s 58.5.

Today’s U-17 World Cup final here at the Salt Lake Stadium, is a chance for England to emulate Brazil, who in 2003 won the U-17 and U-20 World Cups in calendar year. In case of a Spain win, it will be the first for a European nation to win the Euro and World Cup U-17 titles in the same year.

Neither England nor Spain have won the U-17 World Cup trophy and it is the first all-European final in the history of the tournament. For Spain, this will be their fourth final, losing on all three occasions in 1991, 2003 and 2007.

England have put in a lot of effort to reach their maiden in the U-17 World Cup. The process started in 2014 when a National Football Centre was founded at St. George’s Park with a serious effort to change the philosophy of the English game under the banner of “England DNA”.

Methods followed by seven successful countries were adopted and more focus was placed on creativity and technique. Within three years of the process, the results are speaking for itself. England are on the verge of winning two World titles in a single year!

However, to achieve that England have to beat Spain, who beat them five months ago in the U-17 Euro final. And those who had missed out from the spot in that tie-breaker, Rhian Brewster and Joel Latibeaudiere, are now raring to go in this tournament. Brewster has already shot seven goals.

Skipper Joel said: “That match had made me stronger as a player. We do not want to look back, we want to look forward for the first World Cup final we shall be playing.

The Spanish coach Santiago Denia described England as a team, “playing not only good football, but penetrating as well. Under Steven Cooper, they now know how to play ball.” But like Santi, as the Spanish coach is called, his English counterpart too wants to have the ball and control the match. This is certainly the biggest change in British football philosophy, as they always preferred to kick-and-run without believing in the build-up.

“How do we want to play and how the style should be developed were discussed. We continued to do so, developed a style of football where we wanted to go forward with the ball, so that in the long run we can reach the finals of the Euro and the senior World Cup. That is the objective,” said Cooper.

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