Skip to main content
Published 14 November 2023 4 min read
Men's U18

Report: England 2-1 Iran

Written by:

Nicholas Veevers

Ryan Garry's Young Lions staged a second-half comeback to seal a thrilling win over Iran and ensure their involvement in U17 World Cup knockout stage


15 Nov 2023 2:18

Highlights: England 2-1 Iran

See the best of the action as the Young Lions made it two wins from two games at the FIFA U17 World Cup

England secured their place in the knock-out stage of the FIFA U17 World Cup following a 2-1 win over Iran in Jakarta on Tuesday afternoon.

The Young Lions made it two wins from two group games in Indonesia, after a stunning late winner from Joel Ndala edged a hard-fought victory in England’s favour.

And the win leaves England with six points in Group C following Saturday's 10-0 victory over New Caledonia, sitting three points clear of both Iran and Brazil with just one game to go when they face the South Americans on Friday.

It was a game where Ryan Garry’s side had to show their patience and character too, against a physical, direct and well-organised Iran side fresh from a win over Brazil in their opening game.

England’s task was made even harder when they fell behind, after Iran opened the scoring just beyond the half-hour mark when Nima’s corner was guided home by Abolfazi Zamani.

It had been a scrappy start to the game, but England had showed the intent to attack and that continued after the goal but the Young Lions went in behind at the break.
The Young Lions line-up ahead of their second game in Group C at the FIFA U17 World Cup
The Young Lions line-up ahead of their second game in Group C at the FIFA U17 World Cup
That theme continued after the restart, and when Garry made a double switch with the introduction of Reiss Russell-Denny and Justin Oboavwoduo just before the hour mark, it paid instant dividends.

The pair had been on the pitch for less than five minutes when the equaliser arrived, as Russell-Denny drove forward and played a pass into Matty Warhurst. The striker laid the ball back off for the Chelsea man, who placed a low left-footer into the bottom corner to bring things level with his second goal of the tournament.

That goal gave England the impetus to end the game strongly against an increasingly tiring Iran team, as they went in pursuit of a winning goal.

As the clock ran down, more and more openings began to appear with Iran seemingly content to hold onto what they had and play on the break.

The half-chances weren’t falling in England’s favour though, as substitute Samuel Amo-Ameyaw sent a shot into the side netting, while Michael Golding was narrowly wide with another crashing effort.

But the Young Lions finally made the breakthrough in the 90th minute through Ndala, whose wonderful finish was enough to seal the three points. After seeing his run down the left channel part-blocked by ‘keeper Arsha Shakouri, the loose ball fell back to him in what looked an unfavourable position with a tight angle.

Shakouri was grounded and out of position, but there were still three defenders between Ndala and the goal. The Manchester City man wasn’t phased by that and steadied himself before instinctively lifting a curling shot beyond the tracking defenders and into the far corner to prompt the celebrations.

It's a big result, but Garry and his squad will now regroup as they prepare for their final group game against Brazil on Friday (10am GMT).

England: 1 Tommy Setford (Ajax), 2 Josh Acheampong (Chelsea), 5 Lakyle Samuel (Manchester City) (c), 15 Joe Johnson (Luton Town), 6 Ishé Samuels Smith (Chelsea), 8 Michael Golding (Chelsea), 11 Joel Ndala (Manchester City), 16 Myles Lewis-Skelly (Arsenal), 18 Chris Rigg (Sunderland), 19 Matty Warhurst (Manchester City), 20 Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal)

Substitutes: 14 Reiss-Alexander Russell-Denny (Chelsea) for Rigg 59, 9 Justin Oboavwoduo (Manchester City) for Nwaneri 59, 10 Samuel Amo-Ameyaw (Southampton) for Lewis-Skelly 76, 3 Jayden Meghoma (Southampton) for Johnson 76

Substitutes not used: 4 Finley McAllister (Manchester United) 7 Tyler Dibling (Southampton), 12 Harrison Murray-Campbell (Chelsea), 13 Ted Curd (Hashtag United, loan from Chelsea), 17 Archie Stevens (Glasgow Rangers), 21 Finley Herrick (West Ham United)

Head coach: Ryan Garry

Goals: Reiss-Alexander Russell-Denny 63, Joel Ndala 90