• England U-17s make second consecutive tournament final
  • Fourth major final an England youth team have made in 2017
  • Latibeaudiere: “It has all just provided us with motivation”

2017 is turning into a remarkable year for England’s youth teams. The Three Lions have already claimed FIFA U-20 World Cup title and a UEFA European U-19 Championship crown this year. On Wednesday in India, England’s U-17 side took another step to becoming world champions at their level.

A 3-1 victory over Brazil in Kolkata assured that Steve Cooper’s side would not only play in Saturday’s final at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, but appear in a second tournament final against the same opposition in Spain this year. Both teams met in the European U-17 Championship climax in Croatia, where Spain triumphed on penalties. It is also the fourth final that an England youth team have reached in the calendar year.

Like their older compatriots, England U-17’s aim has always been to emulate those successes in the showpiece game at India 2017. “The thought has always been to get to where we are now, and hopefully, win the trophy,” said England captain Joel Latibeaudiere to FIFA.com. “The U-20’s did it and that’s just motivation for us. It just shows where English football has got to now and it’s just great for English football, in general. To be in the final is just joy, happiness. It’s just a great feeling.”

Joel Latibeaudiere facts

  • Born 6 January 2000
  • A member of Manchester City's youth academy
  • Has played every minute of England's six games at India 2017

Brewster makes the difference
As in the quarter-final victory over USA, England striker Rhian Brewster was the difference maker with a second hat-trick in as many matches to help see off Brazil in impressive fashion. He wasted little time in finishing off his three goals when the chances arrived at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium, with the Liverpool forward moving to the top of the tournament scoring charts on seven goals.

Latibeaudiere was quick to underline the influence that Brewster has had on himself and his team-mates. “Rhian is a big character, on and off the pitch. He’s very motivational, he gets the team going with his goals and all his other attributes,” the defender said. “Off the pitch, he’s very motivational in helping out and talking to the team. He’s a leader within himself, so when he scores the three goals, we’re all happy. We know that we’ve got a trusted No9, who can win us games like he has done against USA and against Brazil today.”