England's Jordan Spence went into Friday's clash against Brazil charged with stifling an attack that had yielded 13 goals in just two games. It was a tall order in itself, but not only did the imposing centre-back help restrict the free-scoring Seleção to a single goal - Tales' brilliant first half free-kick - he too popped up with an eleventh hour strike to seal a 2-1 victory and send the Three Lions through to the round of 16 as Group B winners.

It was very much the dream perfomance, and Spence's moment of personal glory, two minutes into injury time in Goyang City, quickly became the pick of his memorable collection from international duty. "There are a few highlights in my time with the U-17s, the European Championship final and how we got there, and qualifying in Bosnia, but for a sheer moment of joy, yes this was extra special. It's great to be able to score the goal, but it's not for myself, it's for the lads here and my friends and family back home," he enthused.

Despite falling behind against Brazil, Spence insists that England always believed they could claim three points from their third outing. "From the kick-off we controlled the possession. When they did have the ball we defended well. They did not have many openings. Then they got their goal. Whether Tales did it on purpose only he knows. It's a freak goal, a set-back. Football can change in a matter of seconds though, so we never thought it wouldn't be our day just because that went in.

"Anyone with any illusions that we were going to be over-awed by them and just try and close out a game, then not at all," he continued. "We set out to win the game. There was no fear from us. When they got the ball, it was difficult to get it back. They had possession without really hurting us. Part of the plan was to stay nice and compact and we defended well. There was a period where they could have scored again, but we rode the storm.

"Even when we were a goal down, I believed we would win the game. When we equalised, the mood was just the same. We knew we could win it.

Unlikely hero
Although their clearest openings came in the first half, the Brazilians did have one great chance to retake the ascendancy following the restart. Awarded a penalty, their shining star Lulinha stepped up to take it, but his effort was repelled by goalkeeper Alex Smithies. His stop came as no great surprise to Spence, who has seen the Huddersfield Town promise perform heroics in the past. "Alex has got a great record at saving penalties. I think he's saved five for England - that's amazing.

"He got us out of trouble. That gave us a big boost. I thought 'let's go and win it now'." And that John Peacock's charges did, albeit courtesy of an unlikely source. With the referee's final whistle just moments away, Spence stylishly diverted Henri Lansbury's attempted shot past the diving Marcelo and into the net.

"When it fell to Henri I was pleased, as of all the people it could have landed to, he has scored some great goals from the edge of the box. He did not seem to catch it right, I managed to stay onside, I just wanted to direct it towards goal," explained Spence.

"It's a blur now. I didn't see the ball hit the back of the net. As soon as I made contact I was gone. It was the biggest buzz. Just one of those feelings where I wished I could hit a rewind button and go through it all again."

Glory mission
Having achieved their initial objective of finishing at the summit of Group B, England will now set about navigating their way through to the final on 9 September. And despite it being their first appearance at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Spence believes they have what it takes to etch their name on the trophy. "Hopefully we have sent a message out to the other teams and to the public who doubted us at the start of the tournament that we are here to win it," declared the West Ham United teenager.

"We have the capability to do so. We will enjoy the moment, but we will push this to one side though and concentrate on who we will play in the next round. The aim was always to win the World Cup. If you are not here to win it then there's no point being here.

"We set the initial objective of winning the group, we have done that. The next objective is to win our game in the Round of 16. Ultimately the goal is to win the World Cup. If we play to our potential there is no reason why we can't do that."

As John Peacock masterminds his troops' assault on the knockout rounds, senior England boss Steve McClaren applauded the youngsters' performance and a victory which gave the Three Lions their first ever win against Brazil in a FIFA competition.

"It's a terrific achievement to beat Brazil, who are one of the best teams in the world at this level and one of the pre-tournament favourites. John Peacock, his coaches and the players all deserve enormous credit for winning their group in style and putting in such confident performances. They can now go into the knock-out stages full of confidence," he concluded.