Venezuela 0, England 1
England Under-20 manager Paul Simpson is predicting a bright future for the senior team after watching his side claim the country’s most prestigious international crown since 1966.
Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck the winning goal and Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman made a brilliant late penalty save as England beat Venezuela in the final of the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea on Sunday.
A triumphant campaign for Simpson’s starlets also saw Woodman awarded the Golden Glove for best keeper and Liverpool-bound Chelsea product Dominic Solanke the coveted Golden Ball for player of the tournament. Previous winners include Lionel Messi, Luis Figo and Diego Maradona.
It was also just the latest encouraging showing from an England age-group team this summer, lifting Simpson’s hopes that it can translate into long-awaited glory for the senior side, who have not reached a major final since winning the World Cup 51 years ago.
“Hopefully we can use this as a stepping stone as ultimately the goal is to be successful at senior level and this has been a terrific experience for these players to help develop them for senior football,” he said.
“It’s a dream come true, and that doesn’t even sound like a strong enough statement to express how big an achievement this is for everyone concerned.”
Victory came less than 24 hours after England’s Under-20 B team won the highly regarded Toulon Tournament and just weeks after the Under-17s finished runners-up at their European Championship.
Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal late in the first half, beating Wuilker Farinez at the second attempt after the Venezuela goalkeeper had parried his first effort.
Tottenham midfielder Josh Onomah almost extended England’s lead in the second half when his long-range shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced clear.
But England were indebted to Woodman for saving Adalberto Penaranda’s late spot-kick, following Chelsea defender Jake Clarke-Salter’s foul on the tricky Watford-owned forward.