Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the vital goal to give England their first-ever U20s World Cup win over Venezuela in South Korea, with Freddie Woodman saving a penalty with nineteen minutes to go to make the victory sweeter.
England got the first real chance 11 minutes in when Dominic Solanke found himself free in the penalty area, but scuffed his shot slightly and Venezuela keeper Wuilker Farinez got down quickly enough to push it aside, with Williams Velasquez on hand to sweep up and clear away.
Solanke’s drive towards the opposing defence saw Venezuela cautiously backing off the new Liverpool man, who links up with the Merseyside club next month after his release from Chelsea, with the striker taking the opportunity to find Ademola Lookman, who saw his strike palmed aside by Farinez with a great diving save.
England weren’t to have it all their way however, when a free-kick from Ronaldo Lucena, who plays his club football for Zamora FC in his home nation, powered a swerving free-kick from 40 yards against the left upright of Woodman’s goal, beating the Newcastle youngster, with the free-kick a remarkable effort on goal, something Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of.
England strike blood
England struck the vital goal with the match 34 minutes young when captain Lewis Cook swung the ball into the box with Calvert-Lewin winning the scramble in the air against Nahuel Ferraresi. As the ball dropped kindly for the Everton attacker, his original effort was kept out by Farinez, however, Calvert-Lewin was the quickest to react and poked home the vital goal to win the England set up their first-ever World Cup in 51 years, and the U20’s their first-ever World Cup.
Adalberto Penaranda, Venezuela’s player of the tournament and their best player on the pitch today, saw his free-kick fly just past the post from 30 yards as the minutes ticked just towards half-time, before Velasquez saw himself go into the book for a clash of heads with Solanke, with Fikayo Tomori then shown yellow for a clip of the heels on Penaranda.
Woodman was able to hold a weak header from Venezuela’s Yangel Herrera, who represented New York City from January onwards after signing for Manchester City on transfer deadline day. The Newcastle shot-stopper denied Sergio Cordevo, who found himself in on goal following a through ball from substitute Yeferson Soteldo, but Woodman saved with his legs. He was called into action again a few minutes later when Herrera nodded towards goal but he was able to palm it away.
England hit the bar
Tottenham’s Josh Onomah turned toward goal and drove an effort towards the target, with the ball hitting the underside of the crossbar and bouncing back down on the line before eventually being cleared from the area, with Farinez rooted to the spot.
Woodman penalty save
Venezuela were awarded a penalty in the 72nd minute when Kyle Walker-Peters slid in on Penaranda, with him appearing to win the ball cleanly. However, the referee opted for the video replay, with the penalty being given and Penaranda taking up the honours. The playmaker powered his effort down the middle, with Woodman, who has been vocal in his praise of the players that play in front of him, originally looking as he went the wrong way by diving to his right. However, the goalkeeper got a strong hand to it and pushed the ball aside, making it a remarkable save and seeing the keeper win the Golden Glove award.
There are lots of positives and not many negatives that can be taken from this win. The future is certainly bright for England based on this performance and with the senior side heading into a World Cup next summer overseas in Russia, there may be a couple of today’s performers on show on the biggest stage of them all…