It’s been quite a weekend for England’s youth teams, winning two major finals, in both the U20 Toulon Tournament (though England essentially fielded a U18 side) and the U20 World Cup (where England did field a U20 side).
All told, seven Chelsea players picked up winners’ medals, with Reece James, Josh Grant, Tariq Uwakwe, Martell Taylor-Crossdale, and Iké Ugbo doing so at the Toulon — all five have been at Chelsea since U10 — and Fikayo Tomori and Jake Clarke-Salter doing so at the U20 World Cup, which was being held in South Korea. Former Chelsea trainees Daniel Kemp (Toulon) and Dominic Solanke (U20 World Cup) were also among the winners. Solanke in fact had an excellent tournament and an excellent game on Sunday, winning the tournament’s best player award in addition to the big trophy. Good luck to him in Liverpool.
England also won the Toulon Tournament last year, with the Chelsea core of Lewis Baker, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Nathaniel Chalobah (as well as Kasey Palmer and John Swift) sweeping aside all challengers. This year’s much younger side didn’t have it so easy, but eventually prevailed in a penalty kick shootout over Cote d’Ivoire. Grant gave away the penalty for the late equalizer, but Ugbo scored to start the shootout and the Three Lions prevailed 5-3. Former Chelsea U18 head coach Joe Edwards, soon to be Chelsea U21 head coach, was also there as part of the England coaching staff.
Chelsea boys with another trophy pic.twitter.com/mKyf20u8xn— Josh Grant (@Joshua_Grant1) June 10, 2017
Then on Sunday, England also won the U20 World Cup for the first time in their history, with the central defensive partnership of Tomori and Clarke-Salter helping keep a clean sheet over previously all-conquering Venezuela, who had conceded just two goals all tournament while scoring 14, in a very entertaining and open final.
Jake Clarke-Salter and Fikayo Tomori: CB partners in FA Youth Cup, UEFA Youth League, and FIFA Under-20 World Cup Final triumphs. #CFC— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) June 11, 2017
Both teams rattled the post and missed multiple gilt-edged chances as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s well-taken first-half goal was all the difference needed. Clarke-Salter was adjudged to have given away a penalty at one point, but Woodman made a tremendous save.
Well done, all! What a final this was!
England U21s won Toulon t'ment last year, U17s finalists in Euros, now U20s in WC final. Greatest challenge? Club 1st team opportunities— Dan Roan (@danroan) June 8, 2017
On a final note, in senior internationals, while Cahill and England struggled, Bertrand Traoré and Burkina Faso dispatched Angola 3-1 in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying. Traoré scored his nation’s third to seal the deal with a nice run and finish down the right channel.