Goal machines ready to roar again
After serving up 17 goals on their first day in action – just one fewer than the other four groups put together – the eight teams in Groups E and F of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 will have more goals in their sights when they press their claims for Round of 16 places on Thursday. FIFA.com looks ahead to what could well be a pivotal day in both sections.
Match of the day Paraguay-France, Puerto Montt, 22 October 2015, 20:00 (local time) This meeting between the two big winners on the opening day in Group F promises much. Paraguay flexed their muscles in beating Syria 4-1, while France were even more ruthless in dispatching New Zealand 6-1, two handsome victories that featured not a brace or a hat-trick among them. La Albirroja have never beaten Les Bleus, a record they will be aiming to set straight in what is an eagerly awaited duel.
The other matches New Zealand and Syria both share the same objective in the other game in the section: to recover from their heavy opening-day defeats and avoid an early elimination. Having finally ended a run of six U-17 World Cup games without a goal in an otherwise dispiriting defeat to the French, the Kiwis are now looking to break another unwanted sequence: six straight losses in the competition.
The situation in Group E is not unlike that in Group F. While South Africa’s reverse at the hands of Costa Rica was not a surprise as such, the same cannot be said of Korea DPR’s 2-0 defeat to Russia, which has left the Asian side with much to do when they take on the African newcomers, a game the Youth Chollima will be expected to win.
Russia and Costa Rica have met on several occasions in major international competitions, on both grass and sand, with the Sbornaja having emerged winners every time. The two are going head-to-head for the first time in a FIFA youth world finals, however, with group leadership the prize for the winners.
Player to watch Andy Reyes (Costa Rica) The Tico forward has experienced the highs and lows of football in recent times. After being dropped before Costa Rica’s CONCACAF qualifying campaign, he returned to the squad in Honduras and bagged five goals, continuing that fine form in Chile, serving up a goal and an assist already. “I want to be a world champion,” said Reyes, making his ambitions for the rest of the tournament clear.
The stat 1.95m - at 6’5, New Zealand defender Hunter Ashworth is the tallest player at Chile 2015. Only 12 players on duty at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ were taller.
The words “We’ve got some way to go and we’ve still got a few things to improve on if we’re going to mix it with the World Cup regulars. Every match is a new experience. If we want to have the chance to play a fourth game, we have to know where we’re going and what we’re capable of,” South Africa coach Molefi Ntseki.
**Match schedule **Group E South Africa-Korea DPR (Estadio Municipal Ester Roa, Concepcion, 17:00) Russia-Costa Rica (Estadio Municipal Ester Roa, Concepcion, 20:00)
Group F New Zealand-Syria (Estadio Chinquihue, Puerto Montt, 17:00) Paraguay-France (Estadio Chinquihue, Puerto Montt, 20:00) (All times local)