- Matchday Two in Groups A and B
- Paraguay assured of a last-16 spot
- USA win again, India facing exit
DAY REPLAYED – USA and Paraguay were Monday’s big winners at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. With their second win in two games, the Stars and Stripes are practically assured of a spot in the Round of 16, but the hosts have now lost both matches and retain only a slim chance of reaching the knockout stages. However, India did have cause for celebration after Jeakson Thounaojam scored the country’s first-ever goal in a FIFA competition.
In Group B, Paraguay took the points against New Zealand to book their place in the last 16 with a game to spare, while Mali, finalists at the last U-17 World Cup, claimed their first win of the tournament.
What we learned
#Footballtakesover. Indian supporters had high hopes, as they took to their seats at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi to support the host nation against Colombia. Despite a spirited performance, India’s U-17 World Cup adventure will likely come to an end after their third group game against Ghana. Yet, the passion aroused among the locals has been immense. When Thounaojam made it 1-1 in the 82nd minute against Colombia, the stadium was rocking and the excitement for football was tangible. That elation was punctured somewhat when Juan Penaloza netted the visitors’ winning goal straight after the restart, but the noise the home crowd generated will live long in the memory.
Celebrations come later. Scoring a goal is usually a reason to celebrate, but that was not the case for Mali’s Djemoussa Traore, who notched his side’s opening goal against Turkey. Instead, Traore stood emotionless on the by-line, simply kissing his hand and looking up to the heavens, and his team-mates were similarly muted in their response. Traore explained all at the final whistle. “After the defeat to Paraguay, we were all really disappointed and we challenged ourselves to be completely focused in this game. We only wanted to celebrate when the job was finished,” he said to FIFA.com. The current African champions were evidently confident of victory when the second and third goals arrived in the second half, as they celebrated both in the usual manner.
Misfortunes never come alone. For Paraguay’s Alexis Duarte, Matchday Two was a day to forget. Alan Rodriguez got the South Americans off to the perfect start with a goal less than 120 seconds in against New Zealand, but Duarte unwittingly turned the match upside down with two own goals (20′, 34′), as two attempted clearances ended up in his own net. The match had a happy ending for the luckless Duarte, however, as Anibal Vega scored twice (75′, 78′) to give the Albirroja the win and book their place in the last 16.
The stat of the day
22 – Ghana’s 1-0 defeat to USA brought an impressive run to an end: for the first time in 22 matches – and 20 years – the Black Starlets failed to score in a FIFA U-17 World Cup match. On Matchday One, they had broken the record for scoring in consecutive matches at the tournament when they edged past Colombia 1-0, having previously shared the record of 21 consecutive games with Germany.
“I’m very proud of the team, that was a great performance. It was the spark we need for football in this country. We can work well and achieve success in the future with this team.”
India coach Luis Norton de Matos