Cooper: ‘Proud to make a statement’

English head coach Steve Cooper happy as he insisted on sticking to the same style of play in its maiden FIFA Under-17 World Cup final, here on Saturday.

England's Rhian Brewster hugs coach Steven Cooper as they celebrate a goal against Brazil in the FIFA U-17 World Cup semifinal in Kolkata.   -  AP

 

It was not just the win but the way it made a big statement in its 3-1 decimation of Brazil that made English head coach Steve Cooper happy as he insisted on sticking to the same style of play in its maiden FIFA Under-17 World Cup final, here on Saturday.

England rode on a hat-trick by Liverpool youth team striker Rhian Brewster to storm into its maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup final in front of a 63,000-odd partisan crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium.

“The feeling is pride and satisfaction. We did it the way we wanted to do it. We had to fight for the moments. We are really proud of the result and performance. That’s really the message,” Cooper said at the post-match press conference.

“It’s about playing our way. You have seen that in every game we have been quite identifiable. We want to play with purpose, dominate possession, play forward and get the ball back as quick as we can. That’s always our plan. Any good team stick to their plan. It’s just another example today.

READ: Brewster: 'It is great to score two hat-tricks in two games'

“We will never change our style or way. Whoever we play we can be a match and play better than the opposition. We have to work hard for that,” he added.

He said he was proud of the character and mentality his players showed and also praised the ‘England DNA’ — a Football Association’s project to develop world class footballers.

“We are a part of the process, they go hand in hand. I hope the best is yet to come. There’s not a bigger game they can play than the World Cup final at their age. They will play the ultimate game now, a World Cup final which is fantastic for the country and an amazing recognition of what the clubs and academies are doing, what we are tying to do with ‘DNA’ at St George’s Park.

“It’s part of a long term process. We are going to enjoy the moment, come back here and ready to go in a few days. Maybe the crowd will be behind us,” Cooper said.

If Brewster was the man in form with his second hat-trick of the tournament, it was Manchester City winger Philip Foden who complemented him. Foden impressed with his balance, his ability to attack either from right or left as he got a big ovation from the crowd. “It was good to see a round of applause from 60,000 Brazilian fans,” Cooper quipped.

“They appreciated good players in every game. It was a nice moment for him (Foden). He gave his all and made a difference. But a lot of players made the difference especially our defenders as well.”

Lavishing praise on Brewster, he said: “He’s an amazing achievement, to score a hattrick in quarterfinal and semifinal is amazing. I normally don’t talk about individual players but he needs a special mention.

“It’s about the effort he puts in and wins the ball back quickly. It’s not about individual glory but playing for your country.”

Copper hailed his side’s defence for not letting Brazil make a comeback. “Compliments to our boys they kept really well and did not let them get through.”