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England win FIFA Under-20 World Cup

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U-20 World Cup

Dominic Solanke believes a confident England have what it takes to win the Under-20 World Cup and follow in the famous footsteps of the heroes of 1966.

Paul Simpson’s side came from behind to beat Italy 3-1 in Thursday’s semifinal to set up Sunday’s showdown with Venezuela in Suwon, South Korea.

They are the first England side to reach a world final since Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy at Wembley 51 years ago, but Solanke feels he and his teammates can bring the silverware home.

“It’s our time,” Solanke, who is set to join Liverpool from Chelsea on July 1, said. “Everyone will be rooting for us back home so hopefully we can make them proud.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin of England (16) celebrates with team mate Ademola Lookman

“The determination we have is what drives us on. We know that even if we’re losing we can bring it back. The disappointment we had in the U19 Euros last year [losing in the semifinal], we know that feeling, so we want to go and win this time.

“There have been no special words from the manager, he’s just told us to focus on the next game, as he always does. There’s one more game that we need to go and win and if we do it right we’ll be champions.

“We’ve seen some of Venezuela’s games and we know what a good team they are. It’s down to the last two now, so you’re never going to have an easy final.”

Solanke’s double against Italy took his tally for the tournament to four, one behind Italy’s Riccardo Orsolini in the battle for the Golden Shoe.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero are among the accolade’s former winners, but Solanke insists a team triumph comes before individual honours.

“I haven’t thought about being the top goal scorer, I’ve just been focusing on winning. But that would be a really good achievement for me and I would love to do that,” he added.

“After that win over Italy we’re all confident we can now go on and win on Sunday. We went 1-0 down early on, but we kept going and to get the 3-1 win showed that we are ready for anything.

“We were calm at half-time. We knew we had had a good amount of possession and that the game wasn’t over, despite being 1-0 down. We knew that if we carried on playing the way we were we would get chances.”

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World Cup: Switzerland beat Serbia 2-1 in Group E tie

Switzerland equalised in the second half, thanks to a superb long range strike by Granit Xhaka (52nd).

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Switzerland vs Serbia

Kaliningrad (Russia), June 23 (IANS) A late goal by Xherdan Shaqiri earned Switzerland 2-1 win over Serbia in a Group E clash of the FIFA World Cup at the Kaliningrad Stadium here.

Aleksandar Mitrovic handed Serbia the lead in the fifth minute during the match on Friday.

Switzerland equalised in the second half, thanks to a superb long range strike by Granit Xhaka (52nd).

Shaqiri (90th) found the winning goal in the final minute of regulation time.

Switzerland now have four points from two matches.

Serbia have three points from two games.

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FIFA WC 2018: Iceland to continue playing to their strengths facing Nigeria

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iceland fifa 2018

Volgograd (Russia), June 22: Iceland won’t be changing their strategy much when they play Nigeria in their FIFA World Cup Group D’s second game here on Friday.

Iceland’s opening game of the tournament saw them hold Argentina to a 1-1 draw to give Heimar Hallgrimsson’s side a fighting chance of reaching the last 16. But to do that they realistically need to beat a Nigeria side which is disappointed in their first game when they lost 0-2 to Croatia, reports Xinhua news agency.

The achievement of the Icelandic side can be put into perspective by the fact that the country has a population 556 times smaller than Nigeria, but as they showed in the 2016 European Championships and in qualifying for Russia, Iceland are not going to be intimidated by anyone, but neither are they going to be overconfident.

“We don’t think we are better than Nigeria. We know our strengths, and need to make the best of them,” Hallgrimsson said in an interview with FIFA TV.

Nearly all of Iceland’s best recent results have come when they surrender possession to their rivals. Indeed, they had less than 30 per cent possession when they beat England in France in 2016 and drew against Argentina in Moscow five days ago.

“We knew they would have the possession, they have many of the best attacking players in the world. But we have a team that is at its best when we have the opposition in front of us, and we have clinical attacking players when we attack,” Iceland’s hero of that game, goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson said after facing Lionel Messi.

Hallgrimsson therefore is not predicting much of a change on Friday against a rival with players such as Victor Moses, Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi or Jon Obi Mikel in their starting 11. Wilfred Ndidi and Etebo Oghenekaro will also feature in midfield. Nigeria lacked the important finishing touch during the loss to Croatia and they need to improve on their forward passing movement in order to breach the well-organised defensive structure of Iceland.

“We’ve tried to find what kind of playing style, what kind of characteristics this Icelandic team needs to have, and what identity an Icelandic national player needs to have. And this is the way for Iceland to be successful,” he said.

Hallgrimsson will have the support of Jóhann Berg Gudmundsson, Ragnar Sigurðsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Aron Gunnarsson to help Iceland take to the Round-of-16.

Iceland can also expect to have around 20,000 fans cheering them on in Volgograd as they look to write another chapter in their incredible recent history.

IANS

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Brazil take on Costa Rica in must win World Cup clash

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brazil vs costa rica fifa 2018

Sochi, June 22: Neymar and Brazil will need to step up their game when they take on Costa Rica in a must-win Group E FIFA World Cup clash here on Friday.

Brazil drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their opener last weekend, and Neymar was much criticised for his underwhelming performance.

He was hunted down mercilessly by the Swiss, drawing 10 of Brazil’s 19 fouls, as many as some entire teams.

Neymar also lacked the zip which made him the world’s most expensive footballer when French heavyweights Paris St Germain signed him from Spanish giants FC Barcelona last August.

There was an injury scare after he limped out of Tuesday’s training session with a sore ankle but to his team’s relief the forward is expected to be fit for what could be Brazil’s fourth World Cup match without a win.

Costa Rica, on their part, are desperate for points after they lost their opener to Serbia.

Quarter-finalists in the 2014 Brazil World Cup, Costa Rica have lost seven of their last nine matches and scored only five goals in the process.

“It is going to be a difficult game as are all games in the World Cup,” Brazil attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho was quoted as saying.

“They are a good team. We saw the game against Serbia, and it was only decided through a dead ball situation.”

“This is another opportunity for us. We need to do it, we are all focused. We are mentally strong to play a great game.”

IANS

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