SUWON, Korea, Republic of, Jun 11 – Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored and Freddie Woodman saved a penalty as England beat Venezuela 1-0 to win the Under-20 World Cup on Sunday, ending the nation’s 51-year wait for a global trophy.
Everton striker Calvert-Lewin became only the third England player to score in a World Cup final after Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters in 1966 — the last time England won a world title at any level.
England captain Lewis Cook, who plays for Premier League side Bournemouth, received the trophy from FIFA president Gianni Infantino before hoisting it high above his head to spark frenzied celebrations from England’s Young Lions.
After Calvert-Lewin’s goal on 35 minutes, Cook’s side withstood a ferocious second-half onslaught in Suwon, South Korea, with goalkeeper Woodman dramatically saving Adalberto Penaranda spot-kick 16 minutes from the end.
“We really had to battle that second half, Venezuela put us under so much pressure but the players defended for their lives,” said England coach Paul Simpson.
“At the end of the game, when the referee blew that whistle, we knew we are the world champions,” he added. “We’ve waited 51 years to be able to say that again as an England team.
“It’s an incredible feeling and I don’t think it will ever go away.”
There were extra celebrations as England striker Dominic Solanke, who is newly signed for Liverpool from Chelsea, was awarded the Golden Ball for player of the tournament.
Solanke scored four goals in South Korea and joins a stellar list of past winners that includes Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Luis Figo and Paul Pogba, the world’s most expensive player.
Senior England players Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney tweeted their congratulations for the win, and former England captain Rio Ferdinand posted: “Some real talent within the squad… let’s give them a chance at club level!”
– Cool Calvert-Lewin –
England had the better of the early exchanges with Solanke forcing a save from Wuilker Farinez and seeing a long-range effort go wide in the opening quarter of an hour.
Venezuela, who have never qualified for the senior World Cup, were also making their first final appearance and took time to settle until Ronaldo Lucena’s stunning free-kick hit the post in the 24th minute from 40 metres.
Calvert-Lewin had already come close with a header when he scored what proved to be the winner in the 35th minute.
The striker rose to beat Nahuel Ferraresi to high ball on the edge of the box and as the ball dropped his right-foot shot was parried by Farinez.
He made no mistake as the rebound fell to him, coolly slotting home with his left foot at the near post.
Venezuela took control after half-time as the tiny but lively substitute Yeferson Soteldo, who stands just 5ft 3in (160cm) tall, energised his side.
One of his first passes sent Sergio Cordova clear but Woodman flew off his line to make a crucial save.
Josh Onomah almost gave England a two-goal cushion when he ran unopposed to rattle the crossbar from distance.
Venezuela by now were pouring forward and their pressure appeared to have paid off when Penaranda was brought down by Jake Clarke-Salter and the referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the spot, with his decision confirmed by video review.
Penaranda got up to take the spot-kick only to see his effort down the middle saved as the diving Woodman flung a hand behind him, and England held out for their long-awaited World Cup win.