FIFA U-17 World Cup Warm up game: England edge out New Zealand 3-2

Rhian Brewster struck a late brace to give England U17 side a late 3-2 win over a spirited New Zealand in a practice game at Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Sunday


Rhian Brewster celebrates with his team mates after his winner

Coming from a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Brazil in the first practice game, New Zealand twice took the lead against England before Rhian Brewster’s late brace in the space of two minutes condemned the kiwis to second successive defeat, not an ideal warm-up for the World Cup.

The game started brightly with end to end football with England having the first chance ofthe game but it was Kiwis who took the lead from a counter attack that saw Oliver Whyte find the net from distance, the shot landed into the right corner of the goal beating the English goalkeeper.

However minutes later, England equalised when Marc Guehi netted the ball off Callum Hudson Odoi’s corner to the left corner of the goal. England grew into the game dominating the proceeding but failed to take the lead with score tied at 1-1 at half-time.


New Zealand Goalkeeper Zac Jones produced no. of Scintillating saves

In the second half, England brought on Manchester United starlet Gomez, Fans at the stand cheered every time the youngster prepared for a corner or a free-kick. The kiwis after starting brightly once again got defensive as England started dominating. However Kiwi keeper zack Jones gave tremendous performances with some amazing saves.

As the game entered its final phase, New Zealand took the lead for the second time with Elijah Just taking advantage of a mistake by Emile Smith Rove, who was unable to keep the ball, before scoring to put kiwi’s 2-1 ahead.

However, Liverpool youth product Rhian Brewster equalised quickly when he netted his first goal off a assist by Phil Foden. Minutes later, Brewster completed his brace when his brilliant header off a cross from Nya Kirby beat the keeper to find the net to make it 3-2 in his side’s favour.


England’s Lewis Gibson runs with the ball as Kiwi no.9 Max Mata chases right behind him

New Zealand had a chance to pull things back again in the first minute of extra-time however England defence held on as the game ended at 3-2.

England seemed quite prepared for their challenge despite missing a key player in Sancho. England Coach Steve Cooper said, “We are working closely with Borussia Dortmund to resolve the situation.” The coach was full of praise for Brewster too stating, “He scored two goals and that is what you want from your No 9. I liked a lot of performances today. We tried different positions today. I thought a lot of players created positive impacts,”

Also Read: We are 100% ready to host the U-17 world cup: Praful Patel

Despite the win Cooper wants his team to fine tune its end product, “We looked like a real threat in the first half and played good football. Callum (Hudson-Odi) and Emile (Smith Rowe) on both sides played well. They are both doing their job and they need to get into the box and create and score goals.”


England sensation Angel Gomes got the most cheering from fans, every time the youngster stepped up for a corner or a free-kick

Despite the loss, Kiwi coach Danny seemed confident of his side stating “We played quality sides and have learnt a lot from these games. We conceded goals that were avoidable but still I think we could have managed a draw against the two top teams (Brazil and England) if we could have just converted our chances.” When asked about whether the heat played a factor, he stated, “Yes, one could see the tired legs at the end but that is why we decided to come early here to get acclimatised here before the world cup”

When asked about the teams preparedness for the world cup after two losses, Danny replied, “Look we are as prepared as we can be, the point of these warm up games was to face quality opposition and we could have nicked in draws if only we had converted few of the chances we have few days with us and would like to solves those issues and be ready for the opener against Turkey.”

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