Big wins early, close calls late on Matchday 6
Group E: Argentina storm back to top Cameroon
Group F: Late strike secures Italy last-16 spot
Matchday 6 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™ offered stark contrast between its early kick-offs and late contests; the former saw proven performers outclass inexperienced sides while the latter underscored the fine margins that exist when continental kings and world football heavyweights clash.
India 2017 runners-up Spain picked up their first Brazil 2019 victory in impressive fashion, blitzing Tajikistan for four first-half goals in a match that ended 5-1 for La Rojita. Group E's second tie of the day pitted South American holders Argentina against Africa champions Cameroon, and the Albiceleste attack sprung to life in the second half to produce a 3-1 comeback win.
Solomon Islands will have to wait at least one more match for their first-ever U-17 World Cup goal. The Oceania representatives in Group F were overrun 7-0 by a Paraguay side keen to alleviate some frustration from the scoreless draw against Mexico in their opening match.
Mexico and Italy traded quality goal scoring chances all night, but it took a scorching individual run and strike from Degnand Gnonto in 74th minute to break the match open. El Tri and Gli Azzurrini then traded stoppage-time goals, with Iyenoma Udogie netting a dramatic winner to clinch a Round of 16 berth for the Italians.
Group E [[flag-esp-xs]] Spain 5-1 Tajikistan [[flag-tjk-xs]] [[flag-cmr-xs]] Cameroon 1-3 Argentina [[flag-arg-xs]]
Group F [[flag-sol-xs]] Solomon Islands 0-7 Paraguay [[flag-par-xs]] [[flag-mex-xs]] Mexico 1-2 Italy [[flag-ita-xs]]
Unselfish Albirroja Paraguay's seven-goal spree is the largest goal haul in a match for a team at Brazil 2019. It also provided La Albirroja with their largest margin of victory ever at a U-17 World Cup. The previous high mark of five goals was set against Jamaica two decades ago, a tournament that saw Paraguay record their best-ever finish as quarter-finalists. What's even more impressive is that six different players found the back of the net against Solomon Islands on Thursday.
From Italy 1990 to Brazil 2019 Cameroon's upset of Argentina at Italy 1990 remains the stuff of FIFA World Cup™ legend. Few know it better than Cameroon U-17 head coach Thomas Libiih, who represented the Indomitable Lions at that tournament. The two sides had never faced off at the U-17 level until today, when Argentina turned the tides by scoring three second-half goals.
Magnificent Molla Italy's Marco Molla became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty kick in the competition, denying Mexico No10 Israel Luna in the 38th minute but lunging to his left. The Bologna youth player tormented Luna all night, keeping him off the scoresheet twice more with a pair of close-range saves. In what appeared to be an evenly-matched contest, Molla's contributions were massive.
Group E [[flag-cmr-xs]] Cameroon-Spain [[flag-esp-xs]] (Brasilia/Gama, 17:00 local time) [[flag-arg-xs]] Argentina-Tajikistan [[flag-tjk-xs]] (Vitoria/Cariacica, 17:00 local time)
Group F [[flag-ita-xs]] Italy-Paraguay [[flag-par-xs]] (Brasilia/Gama, 20:00 local time) [[flag-mex-xs]] Mexico-Solomon Islands [[flag-sol-xs]] (Vitoria/Cariacica, 20:00 local time)