England became the first team to make the round-of-16 from Group F in the Fifa under-17 World Cup, reported PTI. Coach Steve Cooper said that it was indeed a ‘luxury’ to qualify after just two games but warned his team against complacency.
“It’s a luxury to qualify after two games. But we are not thinking past the group stage yet. We have to show respect to our next opposition by recovering and putting on a good show again,” said Cooper, who side will face Iraq next.
Up 3-0 inside one hour, England conceded two goals in a space of seven minutes to settle for a 3-2 win against two-time champions Mexico. However, they notched up their second straight win and qualified for the next round.
Their defence crumbled in the last 30 minutes as El Tri bounced back through a splendid brace by Diego Lainez. “I thought we were wary of them in the second half. As for conceding the two goals, this can happen with young players. It’s a learning opportunity for them. But we did not crumble and concede a third. We have got six points from two games, that’s more important.”
Should they top the group, England will play their pre- quarterfinal match in Kolkata itself where they are currently posted. “We are absolutely loving it in Kolkata. The huge support at the stadium and people around training ground is just amazing.”
Borussia Dortmund-bound Jadon Sancho may be on his way to join the Bundesliga giants, but Cooper said they have enough firepower in their ranks to replace the star player, who has three goals in two matches. “We have got 21 players, I’m happy to play them. England is not about just one player.”
On their next opposition, Cooper said, “We are in a tough group, a group with a variety of opposition. I don’t think there’s any easy game in the World Cup. The best example was tonight. We can only concentrate on ourselves.”