England’s tremendous recent success at the international youth level continued this weekend, as Aidy Boothroyd’s U21s won the annual Toulon Tournament, defeating Mexico 2-1 in the final. Since last summer, England’s youth have won two World Cups (U20, U17), a European Championship (U19), and now two Toulon Tournaments. In fact, this year’s win is the third in a row for the Young Lions, which makes them the only nation other than hosts France to accomplish that streak.
As usual, England featured a number of Chelsea youngsters, three of whom started the final (Jake Clarke-Salter, Jay Dasilva, and Tammy Abraham), while a fourth, Fikayo Tomori, came on for the final five minutes to help salt the title away. Mexico took the lead early the unseasonably scorching Southern France heat (usually it’s the wind that’s the biggest weather hazard), but England fought back with two quick goals around the half-hour mark and never relinquished the advantage, keeping the tournament’s runaway scoring leader goalless though not assist-less (Eduardo Aguirre was the only player to score more than 3 goals in the tournament, with 7 total!). Tammy hit the post in the second-half when it looked easier to score, as England asserted their superiority over the team that held them to a scoreless draw in group play.
Mexico’s Diego Lainez, who’s been playing first division Liga MX football in his home country already at age 17 with Club América was named Player of the Tournament (this is the same honor Ruben Loftus-Cheek won two years ago), while Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour, who turned many heads with his performances for Scotland, won the Breakthrough Player award. Scotland were beaten on penalties by Turkey in the third-place game.
Well done, kids!