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England came into the tournament as arguably the side with the most recognisable names on their shirts. Off these, the most prominent were Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Manchester United’s Angel Gomes. But after the semi-final against Brazil, Jordan Brewster is the name on everyone’s lips. England’s style of football has thus far been the most easy on the eye, alongwith Spain and Brazil. Let’s take a look at the Young Lions’ road to the finals.
England were alloted Group F alongside Mexico, Iraq and Chile. They announced themselves with a 4-0 drubbing of Chile in the first match. They then beat Mexico 3-2. They raced to a 3-0 lead in the first half of the match but had to fend off a valiant second-half comeback from Mexico. The third match was another walk-over for them as they beat Iraq 4-0.
Round of 16
The build-up to England’s Round of 16 match was on uneven grounds with the departure of Jadon Sancho. Regardless, they were facing Japan which made them favourites to win it. But the match turned out to be a test for them as they were held 0-0 by Japan. Curtis Anderson saved two shots that helped England beat Japan 5-3 on penalties.
England faced the United States in the quarter-final. The match was billed to be a bit of a clash of titans due to the fantastic form that both sides exhibited in the run-up. But England took it by the horns with Rhean Brewster scoring twice in the first half. Morgan Gibbs White then made it 3-0 in the second half. Josh Sargent then scored for the Americans but it was an uphill struggle for the United States by then. Brewster completed his hat-trick with a penalty in the dying minutes of the match.
The chatter before this fixture was around where it will be held. It was supposed to be played in Guwahati but unplayable conditions caused by rains meant that it was shifted to Kolkata in the last minute. Brazil were the crowd favourite, as was evident from the sea of yellow shirts in the stands of the Salt Lake stadium. But Brewster chipped in with a hat-trick yet again and Brazil were sent packing. Brewster is the first player since Pele to have scored a hat-trick in any World Cup semi-final.