Kolkata: A historic evening unfolded at the Salt Lake Stadium in the first ever all European final at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup as the 'Young Lions' roared back from two goals down and beat Spain 5-2 to clinch their maiden title at this level.
England skipper Phil Foden chose the perfect platform to score a brace, while Rhian Brewster, Morgan White-Gibbs and Marc Guehi also got onto the score-sheet to help Steve Cooper's bunch cancel out the early brace of Sergio Gomez.
As soon as the whistle blew, Kolkata knew it was in for a special evening and they welcomed it with tumultuous applause. England had played most of their games at this stadium in the tournament and were keen on keeping their most ardent Indian fans impressed.
They began in their usual hustle bustle style with Morgan Gibbs-White and Steven Sessegnon seeing their right footed shots blocked.
Soon, the Spanish Armada settled down, and in a matter of minutes they gave the Young Lions a taste of their own medicine. A cross from the left found captain Abel Ruiz, who brought it down with a deft touch for Sergio Gomez (10th minute) to beat England keeper Curtis Anderson, to silence the majority of the crowd. The Spanish bench celebrated as England trailed for the first time at this World Cup.
England with Phil Foden’s trickery down the right went in search of the equaliser, but it was Spain's Mohammed Moukhliss who stole the ball at the centre circle and went through on goal before a heavy touch allowed Anderson to close him down.
The European champions were painting the Salt Lake Stadium red and as expected they doubled their advantage soon when a ferocious left footed volley from Sergio Gomez (31st minute) was too much to deal for the diving Anderson.
Spain’s famed passing game was in full flow, and captain Ruiz’s deft touches made them more menacing.
Steve Cooper was busy giving instructions to his boys, who were far from being down and out. Foden, Rhian Brewster and Hudson-Odoi were pulling out all the stops to put one past Hugo Guillamon and company in the Spanish defence as half time approached.
The pacy Hudson-Odoi cut in from the left, as he likes to do, but was denied by the post. Minutes later, Brewster’s attempt was denied by Spanish goal-keeper.
The Lions were knocking on the door and Steven Sessegnon crossed it in perfectly for the tournament's top goal scorer Brewster (44th minute), who finished it perfectly to score his 8th goal of the competition.
Steve Cooper’s side pressed relentlessly and successfully broke down Spain’s passing game – an equaliser was imminent.
Foden played in Sessegnon, who cut it back perfectly and Morgan Gibbs-White (58th minute) did not need a second invitation to bring the Young Lions back on level terms and add more fuel to what was already a fiery contest.
Santiago Denia’s boys were unable to keep up with the likes Foden and Hudson-Odoi as they wore their heart on their sleeves and ran the defenders ragged.
The efforts bore fruit very soon as Hudson-Odoi’s ball across the face of goal, was perfectly weighted for Foden (69th minute) – Alvaro Fernandez was beaten for a third time.
The young Spaniards found it hard to respond to the Lions and the roaring Salt Lake Stadium.
Spain’s early dominance seemed to be well in the past. Hudson-Odoi and Foden had the Spanish Armada at their mercy, not something any English team would have thought is possible in the recent past.
The Chelsea youngster Hudson-Odoi had saved his best for the last and once he was brought down by Jaume on the edge of the box, his mates knew the routine. He floated it in to Latibeaudiere, who knocked it down for Marc Guehi (84th minute) who landed the killer blow to put the result of the contest beyond all doubt.
Hudson-Odoi, one of the most crucial factors of this fairytale comeback was not done exacting revenge for the night in Croatia as yet; next he invited Foden (89th minute) to add to the tally and make it a five star performance.
Spain had been outplayed, out-thought and outclassed as England scripted history by winning their first ever FIFA U-17 World Cup, and handed Spain a lesson they were not expecting.