England registered a comeback win in their friendly game against New Zealand in Mumbai on Sunday. Liverpool U-23 player Rhian Brewster scored two goals to earn his side a much needed win ahead of the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup which kicks off on October 6.
The practice game between The Young Lions and All Whites saw the side from Oceania start in full force as Oliver Whyte tested England’s defenders on the right wing. However, England recovered early as Callum Hudson Odoi combined well with the midfield to build chances for his side.
Steve Cooper’s young guns came close to registering the first goal of the game around the tenth minute when Callum Hudson Odoi saw his left-footed effort from inside the box fly inches wide of the target.
In the 12th minute, the deadlock was finally broken as a long-range shot from New Zealand’s Oliver Whyte flew past England’s custodian.
Since conceding the opener, England switched gears in search of an equalizing goal. It was in the 20th minute that they succeeded in doing so as defender Marc Guehi, from the left, found the net at the far post.
The latter part of the first-half saw both sides striving to take the lead with Oliver Whyte getting substituted following his ugly collision with England’s keeper Bursik.
The two teams entered the tunnel at the half-time whistle with a 1-1 scoreline.
The second-half saw England dominate the All Whites as the addition of Angel Gomes and Phil Foden did wonders for the side alongside Emile Smith Rowe in the attack. The Young Lions put immense pressure on Daniel Hay’s juniors as they continued troubling the defence inside the 18-yard-box but lack of accurate finishing meant their efforts went in vain.
In the 81st minute, an error from England’s goalkeeper saw the opposition take advantage of the situation. As Josef Bursik moved off the line, Elijah Just got past him to give the lead to New Zealand.
Just three minutes later, England bounced back as Phil Foden’s smart through-ball saw Liverpool U-23 star Rhian Brewster smash the second goal for England. It didn’t take too long for Brewster to add another goal to his name and a couple of minutes following his initial strike, the number 9 found the back of the net again.
The Young Lions emerged winners at the full-time whistle, hereby starting on a victorious note in host nation India ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The winning coach felt that his side showed great character to win the game and expressed happiness with life in Mumbai so far.
"We showed great character. We won the game 3 2 which I think was well deserved. We dominated possession and created the most chances." said Cooper. "It would be great to get some feedback on what playing in India is like."
"We love playing in Mumbai, we love being here. It's been an excellent experience so far."
Steve Cooper's side will face Chile in their inaugural fixture of the blockbuster event.