Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s first half strike provided all the scoring in the championship match of the U20 World Cup as England bested Venezuela 1-0 in Suwon, South Korea.
It marked a subdued ending for what was a dream run through the tournament for Venezuela, as well as for its captain, New York City FC’s Yangel Herrera.
La Vinotinto looked to smash and grab their way back into the contest after earning a penalty in the 73rd minute. Malaga striker Adalberto Peñaranda stepped up to the spot dead-set on firing home, but goalkeeper Freddie Woodman of Newcastle United made the save that would clinch the Cup.
Woodman was awarded the Golden Glove for top goalkeeping honors in the tournament, while teammate and Chelsea forward Dominic Solanke took the Golden Ball for most outstanding player. Notably, Herrera will return to the Five Boroughs with the Bronze Ball, no small achievement for an operator whose main bailiwick isn’t goal-scoring.
One big reason why La Vinotinto had the success they did was Yangel Herrera. The Manchester City midfielder (on loan at New York City) provided boundless energy in the centre of the park game after game.
If you could have managed to ignore “Daddy Yangkee” before, you certainly cannot now. He put his stamp on the proceedings in Korea as his team reached new heights in a competition it had only ever reached once before. He presided over three consecutive knockout round victories that went beyond 90 minutes, and swept home the decisive penalty try in a semifinal thriller against Uruguay.
It’s all of a piece that says this is merely the beginning of a sky’s-the-limit kind of career for Herrera. The best we can do is drink it in while we can— perhaps as early as this Saturday, when the defending MLS Cup champs visit Yankee Stadium.
Ahead of that affair, the Seattle Sounders ought to ask themselves an essential question: which team has Bronze Balls?