England Defeat Venezuela to Win 2017 U-20 World Cup

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2017

England's forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates a goal during the U-20 World Cup final football match between England and Venezuela in Suwon on June 11, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / KIM DOO-HO        (Photo credit should read KIM DOO-HO/AFP/Getty Images)
KIM DOO-HO/Getty Images

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Freddie Woodman were the heroes as England won the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Sunday thanks to a 1-0 win over Venezuela in the final.

After a chaotic opening, England took the lead in the 35th minute through Calvert-Lewin, who steered home a left-footed shot.

Venezuela were brighter after the break and had a chance to level when they were awarded a penalty. But Woodman produced a superb save to keep out Adalberto Penaranda's spot-kick in the 74th minute.

Unsurprisingly, both teams were keen to seize the initiative, making for a frantic start. When things settled down, it was England who were creating the better openings.

Dominic Solanke failed to connect with a bouncing ball after good work from Kieran Dowell, skewing a shot at goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez. Then Ademola Lookman found space on the edge of the area and brought a fine save out of the Venezuela 'keeper.

Lookman was very lively early on.
Lookman was very lively early on.KIM DOO-HO/Getty Images

It was the Vinotinto who came closest to opening the scoring initially, though, in somewhat extraordinary fashion. That was when Ronaldo Lucena hit the post with a free-kick from all of 40 yards.

ESPN FC's Dan Kilpatrick reflected on what was almost an incredible goal:

Still, Venezuela were struggling to cope with the pace and power of England's forwards. Eventually, it was that physicality that saw the Three Lions take the lead.

Calvert-Lewin challenged for a long ball, and it dropped for the forward inside the area. His first strike was well stopped by Farinez, but the Everton forward was on hand to tuck home the rebound with his left foot.

Here's a look at the goal, via Eurosport UK:

Sports journalist Chris Smith was impressed with Calvert-Lewin's persistence:

Calvert-Lewin came close to doubling his advantage before the break after latching on to a Lookman pass, but the impressive Farinez was out to smother the danger. At half-time, England deserved their advantage.

Calvert-Lewin celebrates his goal.
Calvert-Lewin celebrates his goal.KIM DOO-HO/Getty Images

Venezuela were much improved after the break, with the introduction of the pint-sized Yeferson Soteldo sparking the team into life. The substitute played in Sergio Cordova, who couldn't steer the ball past the onrushing Woodman in the England goal.

Fox Sports' Keith Costigan praised the work of the Newcastle United stopper:

The South Americans were looking menacing in the final third but England remained a threat on the break. Josh Onomah came within a whisker of doubling the team's advantage, as he crashed a 30-yard shot off the woodwork.

With the clock ticking down, the game grew stretched and Venezuela continued to create chances. And with 16 minutes left, they had a great opportunity to equalise, when Penaranda was tripped in the box by Jake Clarke-Salter.

Woodman produced a moment of brilliance to keep England level.
Woodman produced a moment of brilliance to keep England level.KIM DOO-HO/Getty Images

Penaranda dusted himself down to take the kick, and his effort looked destined for the net. But Woodman, diving to his right, stuck a hand out to somehow keep it out. As we can see, courtesy of Eurosport UK, it was a remarkable piece of goalkeeping:

Despite that blow, Venezuela continued to push on, with England clearly content to sit deep and see the game out.

The Vinotinto did have a lot of possession in the final third and were constantly probing the England defence. But Paul Simpson's Three Lions were resolute and able to hold out for a memorable victory.