THE DAY REPLAYED – Uruguay scored deep into injury time to beat Rwanda 1-0 in Group C, and as they are now assured of at least finishing as one of the best third-placed teams, became the second nation through to the knockout stages of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011.
The section’s other match witnessed the indisputable moment of the day, when Canadian goalkeeper Quillan Roberts let his feet – rather than his hands – do the talking by scoring his country’s second goal in a 2-2 draw with England. In a remarkable turn of events, not only did the Canucks pick up their first-ever point in 14 matches at the competition, but Roberts became the first keeper to score in the final stages of any traditional FIFA tournament.
And it was also a historic day for Uzbekistan, who defeated the United States 2-1 in Group D, and recorded the nation’s maiden victory in the finals of a FIFA-run competition in the process. That result, coupled with the Czech Republic’s 1-0 win over New Zealand, leaves all four teams together on three points with all to play for as the third and final group matches approach.
Uruguay 1-0 Rwanda
Canada 2-2 England
USA 1-2 Uzbekistan
Czech Republic 1-0 New Zealand
Goal of the day
Quillan Roberts, 87’, Canada-England
With the end of the match swiftly approaching, it appeared that Canada’s achievement of scoring a rare goal in the FIFA U-17 World Cup – after previously going on a run of 340 minutes without finding the net – would all be for nothing. Then, the North Americans' keeper collected the ball well inside his own half. Roberts then floated a long ball towards the box in the hope of locating the head of one of his team-mates up front, doubtless never imagining what was to happen next. His punt bounced wickedly inside the area and looped over the outstretched left hand of opposite number Jordan Pickford, thereby providing the Canadians with the final say in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Better late than never
Rwanda’s players experienced first-hand the downside of one of football’s oldest cliches: it’s not over till it’s over. Just as the Africans were preparing to celebrate their first point at this level, a well-placed header from Leonardo Pais in the 95th minute left them empty-handed. And while not necessarily a statistic that will remain in the memory forever, the strike entered the record books as the third-latest goal in the history of the tournament. It is worth noting that the two that were scored later than this one only managed to secure draws.
Mark the calendar
25 years to the day after Diego Maradona slotted home the so-called ‘Goal of the Century’ against them in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™, England were once again on the wrong end of an unforgettable goal, this time scored by Canada keeper Roberts in the Group C clash. What made this one a little different is that it did not eliminate the English from the tournament, but their fans would nevertheless be forgiven for wanting to remove 23 June from the calendar altogether.
The ‘Cristo de las Noas’ sculpture, situated on the Cerro de las Noas hill in the city of Torreon, is recognised as the third largest statue in Latin America, after the world-famous one atop Corcovado mountain in Brazil, and the Concordia statue in Bolivia. This information may well have inspired Czech forward Lukas Julis, the European side’s fourth tallest outfield player, who scored his country’s first goal of the tournament versus New Zealand.
50 – the number of FIFA U-17 World Cup games in which the United States have participated. They are the only country to have qualified for every edition of the competition. In the all-time list for this particular category, the Stars and Stripes come second behind Brazil (59 games), and lie ahead of Argentina and Nigeria (49 each).
23 June 2011
Burkina Faso-Germany (Queretaro, 15.00)
Australia-Brazil (Guadalajara, 15.00)
Panama-Ecuador (Queretaro, 18.00)
Côte d’Ivoire-Denmark (Guadalajara, 18.00)