Sports Football 02 Oct 2017 FIFA Under-17 World ...

FIFA Under-17 World Cup: England ride on Rhian Brewster’s brace

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | IRFAN HAJI
Published Oct 2, 2017, 2:26 am IST
Updated Oct 2, 2017, 2:26 am IST
England and New Zealand players in action at a warm-up match in Mumbai on Sunday, ahead of the Under-17 World Cup. England won 3-2 (Photo: PTI)
 England and New Zealand players in action at a warm-up match in Mumbai on Sunday, ahead of the Under-17 World Cup. England won 3-2 (Photo: PTI)

Mumbai: Liverpool’s U-23 player Rhian Brewster scored two quick goals in the second half to hand England a 3-2 win over New Zealand in their warm-up match at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Sunday, in the run-up to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Marc Guehi opened the scoring for the young Three Lions side.

For the Kiwis, who had lost to Brazil 1-2 in first practice game on Thursday here, Oliver Whyte and substitute Elijah Just scored.

A quality England side had most players from the top Premier League clubs but they failed to break New Zealand’s gritty defence for a large part of the match, until Brewster’s twin strikes. 

England were the better side, combining well. After initial pressure from England, the Kiwis — wearing white jerseys — got an early lead when Whyte on the counter unleashed a devastating right footer outside the arc and gave English goalkeeper Josef Bursik no chance to react in the 11th minute.

Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe had the first crack on the goal after Chelsea’s Callum Hudson Odoi’s assist but Kiwi goalkeeper Jacob Clark brought up a stunning save. However, England persisted and an unmarked Guehi of Chelsea shot into the goal from a narrow angle after getting a cross from the right in the 18th minute. Later, Danny Loader shot it wide as scoreline remained 1-1 at the break.

England were more clinical in second half but Kiwi substitute Just scored in the run of play to give his side a 2-1 lead in the 81st minute. Three minutes later, Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Brewster combined to equalise after Foden’s through ball was well placed in by Brewster. The Liverpool’s Brewster scored a close range header after Nya Kirby’s ball to give England the lead.

England head coach Steve Cooper said they were looking for balance and trying to fine-tune things as the World Cup is close.

“We had five goals, it was an entertaining game we would have liked two more goals but it was first experience here for guys and they showed character. New Zealand were good and compact unit hard to get through.

“We have lot of things to look on. It was more about balance and players need to be flexible with different formations. The tournament is getting closer and we are just doing fine-tuning. We have been working with this team from long,” Cooper said.

New Zealand coach Daniel Hay said they got what they wanted from two practice games against quality sides.

“The players are responding well in difficult conditions against quality opposition. We have to be organised. We got the feel of South American football by playing Brazil as Paraguay are in our group. We meet Turkey first and by playing England, we got the taste of European football.

“The games have given us idea where we sit at the moment. We need to rectify few things and need bit of luck,” Hay said.

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