THE DAY REPLAYED – After Brazil and Italy did their continents proud by qualifying for the Round of 16 of the FIFA U-17 World Cup United Arab Emirates 2013 on Sunday, Tunisia and Japan were the toast of Africa and Asia respectively on Monday, as they advanced to the knockout phase by securing their second wins in Group D.
Arriving at UAE 2013 as European champions, Russia looked as if they would be a force to be reckoned with. Yet Group D has proved a tougher challenge than they could ever have imagined. Still pointless after suffering their second straight defeat on Monday, the Russians will be under huge pressure when they meet Venezuela in their final game, with Japan and Tunisia already assured of the top two places in the pool.
Yet more contenders
Every day seems to offer up a new candidate for goal of the tournament. Today it was the turn of Croatia’s Ante Roguljic to throw his hat into the ring by weaving his way into the Panama box and scoring with a firm cross-shot, a classy goal that gave his side a valuable victory, their first in four games.
Vinotintos on tour
Though few teams at UAE 2013 are as far from home as Venezuela, the Vinotinto players are being cheered on by a sizable contingent of compatriots, who have been making themselves heard. That was especially true when the country’s national anthem was played at the start of today’s game against Japan, with the Venezuela fans continuing to sing their hearts out even after the music had stopped.
Honours even on and off the pitch
Staying in the stands, the faithful followers of Morocco and Uzbekistan each gave as good as they got in staging an enthralling spectacle in Fujairah, where their sides played out a goalless draw. The Moroccans, who will host the FIFA Club World Cup later this year, were in the majority, turning the occasion into a virtual home game. Yet despite being outnumbered, the Uzbek fans waved their flags and banged their drums enthusiastically and proved they too have a gift for making lots of noise.
1,600 - Venezuela’s Jose Caraballo had the honour of scoring the 1,600th goal in the history of the FIFA U-17 World Cup when he pulled his side level against Japan following a frantic passage of play.
“My first objective when I came here was to win the opening game and my second was to reach the last 16. I’ve done that and I’m setting new targets with every game,” Tunisia coach Abdelhay Ben Soltane.
Canada-Iran (Dubai, 17:00)
Argentina-Austria (Dubai, 20:00)
Mexico-Iraq (Al Ain, 17:00)
Sweden-Nigeria (Al Ain, 20:00)