June 19, 2018

Spain deny Mali another World Cup final

27 October 2017, 01:04 | Franklin Nunez

Spain celebrating a goal. | EPS

Spain celebrating a goal. | EPS

The Africans came charging and threatened from some wing plays.

But Mali too are flying and their figures are staggering: the highest number of goals, the highest number of assists, three players in the top 10 of the tournament's leading scorers, most shots on goal, most shots on target, most shots that hit the woodwork.

With the victory, England progress to the U-17 World Cup final for the first time in their history, where they will meet a side with plenty of pedigree in the form of three-time runners-up Spain.

England celebrated their first ever entry into the U-17 World Cup final and people back home were mightily impressed. Japanese referee Ryuji Sato didn't allow a Mali goal to stand on 62 minutes with the score at 0-2. The match is nicely poised as the battle between football's two big virtues: Mali's relentless attack and Spain's resilience. But Mali goalkeeper Youssouf Koita pulled off a superb diving save.

A total of 162 goals have been scored in this edition of the tournament so far - the third best behind UAE 2013 (172 goals) and Korea Republic 2007 (165).

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Spain had a dominant first half as they took a two-goal lead. After several attempts on goal from both teams, Gelabert was fouled in the box when his deft turn drew a foul from Abdoulaye Diaby to give Spain a penalty.

However, Brewster restored his side's advantage six minutes before halftime when he finished from inside the six-yard box, after an excellent run and cross down the right by Steven Sessegnon. But with no goal-line technology to assist the referee, all the furious protests from the Mali bench came to naught even as the local crowd threw their weight behind the Africans.

In the 71st minute, Torres scored to make it 3-0 to Spain.

Interestingly enough, England and Spain also met in the final of this year's UEFA U-17 European Championship, which the Spaniards won on penalties following a 2-2 draw.

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