Sunday, June 11, 2017

England World Champion!

Before today's u-20 World Cup final in South Corea we knew we would have a new World Champion. Neither Venezuela or England had ever been in a final at youth level. Venezuela had never been in a final at all, showing the incredible strides Venezuelan football has made in the last 15 years, while England had not been in any final since their legendary World Cup triumph in 1966.
So whoever won it would be special. Both teams had reached the final unbeaten, with Venezuela having a strong scoring and attacking record.
The Venezuelan side nevertheless seemed more stricken by the occasion than the English lads, who dominated first half, also taking the lead on a goal by Dominic Calvert-Lewin from Everton. This was in the face of a poor Venezuelan defense, who was saved by goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez.
In the second half the Venezuelans put more pressure on an English side that also seemed to grow more nervous, and there were many mistakes as the match progressed. It was more intense than beautiful, and only English goalkeeper Freddie Woodman seemed cool when he saved a penalty kick from Adalberto Penarando (the big Venezuelan star was a frustrating sight today), and became the best goalkeeper of the tournament and a hero for England.
England won 1-0 and are World Champions.
I was supporting Venezuela, but it was a well-deserved victory for England, who should take advantage of having such a talented pool of players. In the meantime, Venezuela made it to a final, and lost it. They have a base of players to fight for their first World Cup, perhaps in 2022, but I would not count on it.

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