KOLKATA: Speechless about their stunning turnaround to defeat Spain and win their maiden FIFA Under-17 World Cup, England head coach Steve Cooper said their surreal performance speaks volumes about their character.
England bounced back from a two-goal deficit to down Spain 5-2 and to win the U-17 title and continue their dream journey in the age group level where they have won the U-20 World Cup earlier this year in June.
"My feeling is speechless, a little bit surreal. I may be better tomorrow once I realise what we have done. The football that we played, the individual talents, the team identity we showed from being 0-2 down against run of play and win 5-3 tells something about the character," Cooper said at the post-match news conference.
The Three Lions had never gone beyond the quarter-finals in the tournament before but emulated England U20s who won their World Cup in June.
"This trophy is a dedication to the good work done we have done in England, the developmental academies the dedicated work being put at the Football Association... It's the recognition of where English wanted to go. It's pretty special." Phil Foden, an outstanding talent for Manchester City and the man of the match, stole in at the back post to put England ahead in the 69th minute as England avenged Spain's victory in the European Championship final in May.
"We beat Spain playing our game, England team will typify that. This is doing our thing our way, and doing at the biggest stage is so rewarding." Spanish U-17 coach Santiago Denia was heartbroken at the loss but said he's proud of the work showed by the team.
"To be honest, I'm heartbroken because of the boys. But I'm very proud of them, the work we have done with them in the past three years that goes beyond the result of the final.
"This was final and the level expected to be this high.
One thing we have accomplished is to be a team," he said underlining the fact that they are European champions and runners-up in the world.
"As a coach my job was to create a group and we did that.
I'm proud of that." Spain looked fluent in the first 30 minutes before Rhian Brewster reduced the margin going into the break.
"We could not maintain that score. England stepped forward and put pressure on us. They forced us to play the transition game and they are very good at it. We didn't have the control of the game as much as we would have liked to."