Mali, Mexico impress as Albiceleste go home

THE DAY REPLAYED – Saturday saw six teams qualify for the Round of 16 of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015, namely Belgium, Ecuador, Germany, Mali, Mexico and hosts Chile, who advanced without even playing. It was not such a good day for Argentina and Honduras, meanwhile, whose stay at the tournament came to a premature end.

In the day’s initial set of matches, Mali again lived up to their credentials of champions of Africa by comfortably defeating Honduras 3-0 and finishing top of Group D in the process. The Central Americans, who failed to register a point, bid farewell to the competition.

In the same section, Ecuador overcame Belgium 2-0 in composed fashion, ensuring themselves of second place, with the Belgians advancing as one of the best third-placed sides.

In the evening encounters, Mexico pulled off a fine 2-1 win over a powerful German side to top Group C, just ahead of their European opponents. Elsewhere, Australia gave themselves a decent chance of moving on to the last 16 after upsetting Argentina and finishing third with four points.

Results Ecuador 2-0 Belgium (Group D) Mali 3-0 Honduras (Group D) Germany 1-2 Mexico (Group C) Argentina 1-2 Australia (Group C)

Goal of the day Ecuador 2-0 Belgium, Yeison Guerrero (73) Ecuador’s second goal was a masterclass in accuracy, speed and clinical finishing. The move started with a long ball from Renny Jaramillo that was expertly flicked on by Washington Corozo. Yeison Guerrero took the ball in his stride, accelerated past three defenders and slotted it calmly into the net.

Memorable moments *One for all and all for one *After their reverse at the hands of Mali and their ensuing elimination, Honduras’ players and backroom staff gathered in the centre circle for a final pep talk that started with emotive words by coach Jose Valladares and ended in applause. “I told the guys that I’m very grateful, because they’re the ones that got me to a second U-17 World Cup,” he explained. “I’m the only coach in the history of Honduran football, in any age category, who has been to two consecutive World Cups. They gave me this opportunity, they fought hard for it, but now life must go on.”

Chilean cloudburst As the German and Mexican teams made their entrance at the Estadio Fiscal in Talca, the sprinklers accidentally came on, causing much laughter on and off the pitch. That short shower ended up being a sign of things to come, as the game was later hit by heavy rain, soaking both sets of players to the bone. In the end, it was Mexico’s opportunistic finishing, rather than the weather, that put a dampener on Germany’s hopes of finishing first in Group C.

Consolation goal in more ways than one For the first time in their history, Argentina have effectively finished last at the U-17 World Cup. However, the penalty scored by their captain, Tomas Conechny, against Australia in their final group match at least helped La Albiceleste to avoid becoming the first South American participants to be eliminated at this stage without recording a single goal.

The stat 100 – Mali’s win percentage versus CONCACAF teams at the U-17 World Cup. The Africans have now triumphed in such matches three times out of three. Aside from their 3-0 victory over Honduras on Saturday in Chillan, they had previously defeated Mexico at Egypt 1997 and Costa Rica at Trinidad and Tobago 2001. At both those events, Les Aiglonnets reached the quarter-finals, but could they perhaps advance even further at Chile 2015?

The words ***​"Pain, sadness and impotence. It is a pity that things did not work out as we wanted; with a lot of sorrow, but with the head held high"

Dolor, tristesa e impotencia,Una lastima las cosas no nos salieron como queriamos,con mucha pena pero con la frente en alto.

— Federico Vietto (@FVietto) October 25, 2015

  • Next matchday *Sunday 25 October *Russia-South Africa (Group E) Costa Rica-Korea DPR (Group E) France-Syria (Group F) Paraguay-New Zealand (Group F)