Thursday, June 8, 2017
England And Venezuela Both Win To Book Place In U20 World Cup Final
England celebrate after Ademola Lookman put the Three Lions in front.
England will play Venezuela in their first-ever Under-20 World Cup final after coming from behind to secure an impressive 3-1 semifinal victory over Italy in Jeonju.
Riccardo Orsolini put Italy in front with a composed finish inside two minutes before England's dominance eventually paid off as two goals from Liverpool-bound striker Dominic Solanke and an Ademola Lookman strike in the final 25 minutes secured their place in Sunday's final against Venezuela.
Venezuela scored a 91st-minute equaliser against Uruguay in a 1-1 draw, and went on to win 4-3 on penalties in the other semifinal. Nicolas De La Cruz put Uruguay in front and that looked like it would be enough to win the tie until Samuel Sosa fired home a free kick in stoppage time. Venezuela goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez saved first from Jose Luis Rodriguez Bebanz and then De La Cruz, who took Uruguay's fifth and final spot kick, to seal victory. Italy raced out of the blocks and took an early advantage in the second minute after England failed to react to Rolando Mandragora's quick free kick following Lewis Cook's handball.
Mandragora's short pass to Matteo Pessina gave the Como loanee midfielder enough time to pick out Andrea Favilli behind the England defence. The striker cut inside and laid the ball off to Orsolini to curl in a left-footed effort from 20 yards for his fifth goal of the tournament.
Cook pulled a long-range effort wide with Jordan Clarke-Salter doing well to deny Federico Dimarco from 10 yards with a well-timed block before Solanke spurned two more opportunities as Paul Simpson's men trailed at the break. Venezuela celebrate after Wuilker Farinez saved the decisive penalty kick. England continued on the front foot after the restart with Solanke just inches away from levelling with a powerful drive from 20 yards, which would have capped a brilliant solo run that started in his own half.
Right-back Jonjoe Kenny dragged an effort just wide before substitute Sheyi Ojo made an instant impact when his cross evaded everyone, including Azzurri goalkeeper Andrea Zaccagno, before clipping the outside post.
Liverpool midfielder Ojo was thwarted by the feet of Zaccagno as England piled on the pressure and that dominance eventually turned into a deserved equaliser. The menacing Ojo found space on the right wing position before he whipped in a cross which Zaccagno could only parry to the feet of Solanke to volley in from 12 yards.
England continued to press after their leveller and they nudged ahead for the first time in the match 11 minutes later when another Ojo cross caused chaos in the Italy defence before the ball fell kindly for Lookman to smash home from close range. The match became more open as Azzurri pushed men forward for a late equaliser but the Young Lions extended their lead three minutes from time as Solanke tried his luck from long-range.
The shot went straight through the hands of Zaccagno for Solanke's fourth goal of the competition, earning England their first World Cup final in 51 years.
The final takes place on Sunday, kick-off at 11 a.m. BST.