- Ghana and Brazil seal final spots in the last eight
- Eric Ayiah scores and misses from the penalty spot, Brenner gets a brace
- Quarter-finals: Ghana face Mali; Brazil meet Germany
THE DAY REPLAYED – The quarter-final fixtures at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 have now been determined. On the third and final day of Round of 16 action, Ghana and Brazil booked their places alongside Germany, USA, Iran, Spain, England and Mali in the next stage of the competition. While it is the first time Iran have progressed this far, the other seven teams have all previously made it to the quarter-finals at least once in this tournament.
Ghana took the lead with a penalty just before half-time, but had a second spot-kick saved by Niger’s goalkeeper in the second period. Niger’s maiden outing at a FIFA tournament came to a respectable end, while Ghana face their next all-African duel when they meet Mali on Saturday in Guwahati.
In Kochi, three-time champions Brazil flexed their muscles right from the off and made sure there was no doubt as to who would be reaching the quarter-finals from their clash with Honduras. An early goal gave the young Seleção greater stability and confidence, leaving their central American underdogs no chance. The victors will now jostle with Germany in Kolkata on Sunday for a place in the semi-finals.
What we learned
More penalties. A few months ago, Ghana beat Niger 6-5 on penalties in the semi-finals of the CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations. Back then, captain Eric Ayiah missed from the spot, and prior to today’s game, the Ghana No6 said: “We’ll settle the match before it goes to a shoot-out this time.” He was right, even if he still took two penalties during the game. Shortly before the interval, Ayiah held his nerve to put Ghana in front, but he missed his second effort after the break.
Neutrals rooting for underdogs? It is a widely accepted phenomenon that neutral spectators actually hope for an upset and lose their impartiality by keeping their fingers crossed for the underdogs. However, this was not the case in Kochi. Yellow was the dominant colour in the stands, with fans emphatically cheering Brazil’s every move. The South American U-17 champions apparently sensed that euphoria and turned on the style in a tiki-taka frenzy. Brenner caught the eye in particular, hitting a brace to help Brazil score more than two goals in a single game for the first time at India 2017. It was also the first time Los Catrachos failed to find the target at this year’s tournament.
Stat of the day
11 – Eric Ayiah’s goal on Wednesday was the 11th penalty to be scored at this year’s U-17 World Cup. Over the course of 44 matches at the tournament so far, 16 fouls have resulted in penalties being awarded. Almost a third of them (31.25 per cent) have been missed.
Well done Black Starlets..continue been united on and off the pitch..and take every match as it comes ..keep it up pic.twitter.com/5sYgYgWH6K
— Anthony Baffoe (@AnthonyBaffoe) October 18, 2017