It was Friday night heartbreak for young Newcastle United defender Lewis Gibson, as England fell at the very final hurdle.

After winning 10 matches in a row, including all three group games, quarter-final and semi-final, England Under 17s had one hand on the European Championships trophy.

Leading 1-0 and then 2-1, 16 year old left-back Lewis Gibson and his teammates went into injury time still leading Spain by the one goal margin.

Then with the sixth minute of injury time just ticking over, the last kick of the game saw Spain dramatically equalise.

It could easily have been a typical Newcastle United experience (apart from of course the events of 7 May when NUFC won the Championship title…).

Worse was to follow as Spain scored all four penalties and England (Gibson didn’t take one) missed two of their first three and Spain were champions.

A brilliant tournament for the young Newcastle defender and the rest of the England set-up but no cherry on the cake at the end.

One small piece of comfort is that Lewis Gibson now has the World Cup in India in October to look forward to, as he continues his football education.

European Championships Under 17s Final

England 2 Spain 2 (Spain win 4-1 on penalties)

England: 1 Josef Bursik (AFC Wimbledon), 3 Lewis Gibson (Newcastle United),  4 George McEachran (Chelsea), 5 Marc Guehi (capt; Chelsea), 6 Jonathan Panzo (Chelsea), 7 Phil Foden (Manchester City), 9 Rhian Brewster (Liverpool), 10 Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), 11 Jadon Sancho (Manchester City), 15 Alex Denny (Everton), 19 Joel Latibeaudiere (Manchester City).

Substitutes used: 17 Aidan Barlow (Manchester United) for Hudson-Odoi 77, 16 Daniel Loader (Reading) for Foden 80, 14 Jake Vokins (Southampton) for Sancho 80+3.

England Under 17 Head coach Steve Cooper speaking to the official FA website:

“We should be proud.

“We’ve had a fantastic tournament and a fantastic season, which I’ve said to the players.

“My emotion is pride and although it doesn’t feel it now this experience will be a good one when we get over it and we can do a little bit better in future tournaments.

“It’s difficult to take the result, conceding the goal as late as we did, with the last kick of the game. It’s never good when you lose on penalties.

“I thought we had good spells in the game, but credit to Spain they did as well. 1-1 was fair at half-time.

“There was a little bit of cat and mouse in the second half, a little bit of demand for possession. We managed to take the lead and tried to see the game out, but I don’t think anybody would have written that script at the end of the game. It hurts.

 

“We’ve qualified for the World Cup in India, which was one of the objectives of the tournament.

“We did that in style winning 10 games on the run, so we have that to look forward to.

“We’ll continue with our work, everything that we do with the national teams is with the long term in mind.

“We want a successful senior team and doing well and getting to finals and latter stages of tournaments like this will prove to be beneficial in the long term.”