A ruthless England team defeated six-time champions Argentina on the opening day of the 2017 Under-20 World Cup to win their first game in the tournament since 1997.
Argentina went down to 10 men in the second half of the Group A match after a video review system was used for only the second time in a Fifa tournament, following the 2016 Club World Cup, when Lautaro Martínez was sent off for an apparent elbow on Fikayo Tomori.
England had failed to win in their last 17 games in the tournament before this game in the South Korean city of Jeonju. A first-half strike from Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin suggested that the dismal record could be coming to an end and Adam Armstrong of Newcastle extended the lead early in the second half. Chelsea’s Dominic Solanke made it 3-0 from the penalty spot in injury time.
Argentina, one of the tournament favourites, were on top for lengthy periods but were unable to match England’s clinical finishing. The closest the South Americans came in a first half of few chances was 10 minutes before the break as Santiago Colombatto headed against the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Calvert-Lewin dived in the penalty area to head an inswinging cross into the bottom corner of Argentina’s goal. Argentina piled on the pressure after the restart but were caught by England’s swift counter-attack. Armstrong broke free down the right side and fired home a fierce low shot into the bottom corner.
With 15 minutes remaining, the referee Mohammed Abdulla Hassan stopped play to review a pitchside video of an overlooked incident. The United Arab Emirates official then produced a red card for substitute Martínez for what appeared to be an elbow aimed at England defender Tomori.
Inside injury time, Calvert-Lewin was brought down in the area and Solanke side-footed the penalty into the bottom corner.
Earlier, Venezuela defeated Germany 2-0 in a Group B upset with two goals in the space of three second-half minutes. Ronaldo Pena rounded Dominik Reimann after 51 minutes to score the first goal of the tournament and, shortly after, Sergio Cordova underlined Venezuela’s attacking power to extend his team’s lead.
Sixteen of the 24 teams in the tournament – the top two of each of the six groups and the four best third-placed finishers – will progress to the second round. The final takes place in Suwon on 11 June.