U-20 World Cup 2017 Results: England, Venezuela Progress to Final for 1st Time

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2017

(L-R) England's defender Kyle Walker-Peters, forward Dominic Solanke and forward Ademola Lookman celebrates a goal during the U-20 World Cup semi-final football match between England and Italy in Jeonju on June 8, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je        (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
JUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

England will face Venezuela in the final of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup after overturning a 1-0 deficit to beat Italy 3-1 in their semi-final at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium, South Korea, on Thursday.

Riccardo Orsolini put the Azzurrini in front very early on, but two deserved second-half goals from Dominic Solanke, and another from Ademola Lookman, saw the Young Lions through to the final for the first time.

Earlier on Thursday, Venezuela reached the last two by downing Uruguay 4-3 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw in normal time at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium.

Nicolas De La Cruz's penalty early in the second half looked to have won the game for Uruguay, but a stoppage-time equaliser from Samuel Sosa forced an extra half-hour of action.

When a winner could still not be found, penalties were required. And De La Cruz could not convert from the spot a second time as he took the last penalty, needing to score to keep Uruguay in the tournament.

Italy vs. England

Italy came racing out of the blocks as they were ahead inside two minutes. A tidy team move from the Azzurrini saw Orsolini played in on the edge of the box and he swept a curling finish home for his fifth goal of the tournament.

England responded well to going down, but, though they dominated possession, they could muster few genuine chances, a long-range Solanke effort their only shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.

After the break it was a completely different story as the Young Lions were impressive in turning the game around.

Italy could barely get a foot on the ball and 54th-minute substitute Sheyi Ojo was irresistible.

He had three decent efforts within minutes of coming on, and his whipped cross from the right led to England's equaliser in the 66th minute.

Italy goalkeeper Andrea Zaccagno could only palm Ojo's delivery into Solanke's path, and the forward made no mistake in coolly slotting his finish home.

Per football writer Gabriele Marcotti‏, it was no more than England deserved:

Eleven minutes later, another fine Ojo delivery set up England's second as Italy failed to properly clear and Lookman showed excellent instincts to get to the ball first and lash home.

Solanke then made sure of the victory and capped a fine performance as his dipping effort from distance slipped through Zaccagno's hands in the 88th minute.

Uruguay vs. Venezuela 

Venezuela's forward Samuel Sosa (L), midfielder Yeferson Soteldo (C) and forward Adalberto Penaranda Maestre celebrate a goal during the U-20 World Cup semi-final football match between Uruguay and Venezuela in Daejeon on June 8, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / Yeli
YELIM LEE/Getty Images

Venezuela started the brighter of the two sides in their clash with Uruguay, with a speculative but fizzing effort from Ronaldo Lucena forcing a save from Santiago Mele in the first minute.

Nahuel Ferraresi then should arguably have done better as he headed a fine free-kick delivery just wide of the post in the 13th minute.

However, Uruguay grew into the game, and Marcelo Saracchi forced a decent save after a good attacking move just before the half-hour.

The half ended with Uruguay well and truly in the ascendancy, and four minutes after the break, Agustin Canobbio drew a controversial penalty, per Yahoo Sport UK:

There was no doubt about the finish from De La Cruz, though, who tucked his spot-kick into the corner with precision to put Uruguay ahead. 

Uruguay were in control and had half-chances to make it 2-0, but they slowly began to retreat as they looked to hold on to their lead.

Venezuela were ill-disciplined for much of the second half but regained focus in the final 10 minutes as they camped in Uruguay's half.

And they equalised in the most dramatic of fashions when Sosa drilled a free-kick into the top corner in the first minute of stoppage-time. 

Venezuela looked the more likely to find a winner in extra-time, although they did have to resist a barrage of set-pieces early in the second half.

However, neither side could find the net, and so penalties were needed. After a miss apiece from either side, De La Cruz was left needing to score to force sudden-death, but his effort was kept out by Wuilker Farinez to put Venezuela through to their first-ever final.

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