Jeonju (South Korea) (AFP) – Dominic Solanke struck twice as England beat Italy 3-1 to reach the Under-20 World Cup final for the first time in their history on Thursday.
Liverpool-bound Solanke cancelled out Riccardo Orsolini’s early opener when he scored in the 66th minute, before Everton’s Ademola Lookman put England 2-1 up 11 minutes later.
With two minutes left, Solanke buried a glorious strike from distance to confirm England’s place in Sunday’s final against Venezuela, who edged Uruguay on penalties.
Neither side has reached the final before and for England, it will be first time they have played a World Cup decider since their 1966 victory in the senior edition.
Solanke and Lookman have been two of the stand-outs for England, who arrived without a victory in the tournament since 1997 — when Michael Owen scored in a 1-0 win over Mexico.
In South Korea, the Young Lions beat Argentina and their Korean hosts in the group stage before knocking out Costa Rica and Mexico en route to the semis.
Venezuela have also enjoyed a charmed run, beating both Japan and the United States in extra time in the previous two rounds before Thursday’s dramatic win over Uruguay.
Venezuela were seconds from elimination when substitute Samuel Sosa curled in a stoppage-time free kick to take it to extra time at 1-1, after Nicolas De La Cruz’s penalty on 49 minutes.
And in the eventual shoot-out it was De La Cruz who faltered when he saw his crucial shot saved, prompting joyous celebrations by the Venezuelan players.
<figure><figcaption>England's players (white) celebrate their victory during the U-20 World Cup semi-final football match between England and Italy in Jeonju, South Korea <span>Copyright AFP JUNG Yeon-Je</span> </figcaption></figure>