FIFA U-17 WC: Dominant England looks to take its group league form to the knock-outs

The youngest side of the Three Lions has shown enough completeness in its performance which is making many to consider it as one of the title contenders.

England fielded eight players from the bench and dominated Iraq from the start.   -  AP

England’s march into the knockout stage with three convincing wins in the group league signifies the strength of its armoury which, according to its coach Steve Cooper, is a reflection of the preparedness of the side.

The youngest side of the Three Lions has shown enough completeness in its performance which is making many to consider it as one of the title contenders.

“I have hardly seen an England team play like this before. Brazil is playing very well but I was quite thrilled seeing England bring up such a high level of football,” the Tournament Director of Local Organising Committee, Javier Ceppi said on the sidelines of a news conference.

The words of the experienced Chilean administrator, who also organised the previous edition of the U-17 World Cup in his native country, would be offering a lot of encouragement to the English side.

With the England Under-20 team beginning the cycle of achievement, having won the maiden youth World Cup barely four months ago in Korea, the junior team is expected to complete the process by winning the Under-17 crown - a first for the English side.

Cooper has on quite a few occasions congratulated the effective youth development initiatives in his country, which has yielded a steady flow of talented players in the England squad.

Scoring 11 goals in three matches and conceding just two, Cooper had enough reasons to be “pleased” with his team’s performance in a group that had a North American champion, a Latin American runner-up and the Asian champion.  “We knew coming here that we brought with us 21 players and they are all comfortable playing at this level which was proved tonight,” Copper said after his team romped to a 4-0 win against Asian champion Iraq.

England fielded eight players from the bench and dominated Iraq from the start. “We showed we have 21 players who can start games and make a difference in a tournament at this level which is obviously great,” the English coach said about the level of excellence.

Given the assortment of talent in his side, Cooper did not look very upset with the news that the talented attacking midfielder Jadon Sancho may be recalled by his current German employer Borussia Dortmund.  “It is really important that we reflect on the good things that happened so far and focus on some of the things we can improve on as well,” Copper said ahead of the more challenging knock-out stage.

According to news coming out of the English camp, Sancho is yet to leave the city and had trained with his team ahead of the pre-quarterfinal against Japan.

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