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Southwood will return as a World Cup winner!

Goalkeeper helps Young Lions to success in Suwon

11 June 2017

For the first time since 1966, England are World Cup winners - and there was a Royal in the ranks!

Goalkeeper Luke Southwood was a member of the 21-man squad which took the top prize on Sunday in the Under-20 World Cup final in South Korea... the first time that the Three Lions have won a World Cup at any age bracket for 51 years!

Club News

Southwood wins Four Nations Tournament with England U20s

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Southwood has been involved regularly in the Young Lions' setup over the course of the past 12 months - that involved game-time in a Four Nations Tournament victory on home turf, and selection for the Continental Cup over the winter period - again hosted in South Korea.

But this achievement, to be part of a World-Cup winning side, dwarfs the lot.

England topped Group A in the pool stage of this summer's tournament; hosts South Korea reached the knockout stage as runners-up, while 6-time winners Argentina and minnows Guinea saw their tournaments come to an early end.

Slender wins against Costa Rica and Mexico followed in the first two knock-out stages, booking a place in the semis where Italy provided the opponents.  The Young Lions suffered an early setback when Riccardo Orsolini netted after just two minutes, but a late brace by Dominic Solanke and a game-sealer by Ademola Lookman was rewarded with a place in the final.

And whatever happened in Suwon, there was going to be a new name on the trophy.  Argentina and Brazil share 11 U20 World Cup wins between them... but it was fellow South Americans Venezuela who had run the gauntlet to have a chance to be crowned as victors.

In the end, one goal settled it at the Suwon World Cup Stadium.  Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a shot blocked but turned in on the rebound, for what would eventually become the game-winning goal.

There was no better chance to draw level for La Vinotinto than a penalty-kick, given 15 minutes from the end.  And with Southwood's exemplary record of saving spot-kicks - his save against Athletic Bilbao early this year was his 7th in succession - he would have loved to have been between the sticks...

... the responsibility fell to Newcastle stopper Freddie Woodman, the first-choice for Paul Simpson's side across the tournament.  Adalberto Penaranda stepped up, and the custodian kept himself big to turn away the effort with a leg.

And when Southwood returns to Reading he'll proudly be able to call himself a World Cup winner.  Congratulations to everyone involved in this incredible triumph... champions of the world!


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