Young Lions win England's first world title in 51 years

England Under-20 team chases rare global title vs Venezuela
England U20 manager Paul Simpson relishing challenge of ending Three Lions' trophy drought
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12 June, 2017

Decades of failure at national level has given way to a sense of optimism, after England's U19s reached the last four of the 2016 European Championship, and the U17s made last month's European final.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's first-half strike secured Under-20 World Cup glory for England as they beat Venezuela 1-0, although the Young Lions needed Freddie Woodman to secure the trophy with a late penalty save.

Venezuela took control after half-time as England defended deep and tried to hit on the counter.

The breakthrough came on 35 minutes when Everton's 20-year-old Calvert-Lewin latched on to a long ball and reacted to the save of his initial shot to squeeze home.

England captain Lewis Cook, who plays for Premier League side Bournemouth, received the trophy from Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino before hoisting it high above his head to spark frenzied celebrations from England's Young Lions. Yeferson Soteldo, who came on for Ronaldo Chacon in the 51st, then set up Sergio Cordova for a one-on-one opportunity in the box, but he too was denied by Woodman. Freddie Woodman, the Newcastle United goalkeeper, said: "To be champions of the world - it is awesome".

England nearly quashed Venezuela's rally in the 56th, but Josh Onomah's strike from distance rattled the crossbar.

With 17 minutes remaining and Venezuela increasingly pushing forward, referee Bjorn Kuipers from the Netherlands pointed to the spot after Jake Clarke-Salter took down Penaranda in the area despite English protests.

Venezuela then enjoyed a strong spell and Ronaldo Lucena almost broke the deadlock with an ambitious free kick from 45 yards out, catching Woodman off guard, only to see his shot thud into the left upright.

Venezuela, making their only second U-20 World Cup appearance, pushed forward to get the equalizer, but time was running out.

Ademola Lookman brought a decent save from Wuilker Farinez before Calvert-Lewin wrote his name into the history books with what proved to be the winning goal.

At the third-place decider held earlier Sunday at the same venue, Italy beat Uruguay 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out after a goalless draw.

Despite the jubilation, some fans complained that they had struggled to watch all the World Cup games, calling South Korea's TV coverage of the tournament disappointing.


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