England fans 'ecstatic' as long drought ends

Fans had been swarming the Suwon World Cup Stadium for hours before the match kicked off, with many England supporters listening to live K-Pop performances amid tight security at the arena.

England players celebrate with the fans after winning the U-20 World Cup.   -  AFP

England supporters celebrated wildly on Sunday after the Young Lions beat Venezuela to win the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, ending England's decades-long wait for a global title.

Fans had been swarming the Suwon World Cup Stadium for hours before the match kicked off, with many England supporters listening to live K-Pop performances amid tight security at the arena.

The raucous crowd roared their approval when Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored what would be the game's only goal on 35 minutes to hand England its first U20 world title.

The last time an England's men's team lifted any World Cup trophy was 51 years ago in 1966, since when the national team haven't reached any major finals.

"We're very happy. Ecstatic, actually," said David La Boon from England, as he emerged from the packed stadium after the match, surrounded by jubilant fans wearing England shirts.

"I'm extremely excited. On a scale of 10, it'd be 10 out of 10," said England supporter George Skuse.

Decades of failure at national level has given way to a sense of optimism, after England's U19s reached the last four of the 2016 European Championship, and the U17s made last month's European final.

Before arriving in South Korea, England hadn't won a match at the U20 World Cup for 20 years, but after beating six-time champion Argentina 3-0 in its opening game, it hasn't looked back.

England fan Tom Norris said Sunday's final -- when goalkeeper Freddie Woodman saved a penalty 16 minutes from the end -- had been a thriller to watch.

"I thought Venezuela played a very well. I feel sorry for them but I'm happy," he told AFP.

"It was a good game," said David Baker from England, adding that he was "very happy" with the result.

Despite the jubilation, some fans complained that they had struggled to watch all the World Cup games, calling South Korea's TV coverage of the tournament disappointing.

"It has been very bad since South Korea dropped out. None of the major television networks were broadcasting the game. I'm surprised FIFA is not (upset) about it," England fan David, who declined to give his last name because he works in the entertainment industry, told AFP.

"One of the games with England, the semifinal, wasn't on television so I was extremely frustrated," said James Hallworth from England.

Many South Korean fans had come to watch the game -- but said they were "just here for the atmosphere" and hadn't supported either side.

"I would have cheered for South Korea if they had made it to the finals but today, I'm happy whoever wins," said 25-year-old Lee Jun-Woo.

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