England survive late Mexico scare, qualify for knock-outs

Kolkata: England sealed their place in the round of 16 of the FIFA U-17 World Cup after eking out a narrow 3-2 win against Mexico in their second group F encounter at the Salt Lake stadium here, Wednesday. England now have six points from two games.

 Mexico were slightly off colour in the first half and England took advantage of it. England started the match with the same team that of the last match with Rhian Brewster and Calum Hudson-Odoi maneuvering as forwards. The English boys had a better ball possession and got their first chance in the fourth minute itself with Jadon Sancho latching onto a pass from the right flank, but he failed to beat the opposition goalkeeper.

England were again close to scoring a minute later when Brewster missed an easy chance. Two minutes later Philip Foden brilliantly sent a cross to Brewster. The Liverpool kid curled a left-footer into the back of the net but by then the linesman had marked him offside.

Mexico got their first chance in the 16th minute when Diego Lainez brilliantly dribbled past a couple of defenders only to see his shot blocked by the English defenders. The deadlock was finally broken in the 39th minute when Brewster scored from a wonderful free- kick following a foul on Sancho by the Mexican defenders.

After the change of ends England doubled their lead in the 48th minute. This time it was Philip Foden who scored with a brilliant left-footer after being fed by Sancho from the left.

England got a penalty in the 53rd minute when Mexican skipper Carlos Robales handed the ball inside the box. Borussia Dortmund star Sancho coolly slotted the ball past rival goalkeeper to make it 3-0 thus taking his tally to three goals in this tournament. 

However, Mexico reverted back with two back-to-back goals from midfielder Diego Lainez in the 65th and 72nd minute with some brilliant display of soccer skill. England had to play out some tense moments before the ref’s closing whistle finally came to their rescue.

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