Small margins on an intriguing opening day
USA record the day’s only comfortable win, over hosts India
Paraguay and Ghana secure narrow victories
New Zealand and Turkey share the points in their meeting
THE DAY REPLAYED - Aside from a handsome win for USA over the tournament hosts in New Delhi, the opening day of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 was one of fine margins.
In the other match in Group A, Ghana saw off Colombia by a solitary goal, with both sides enjoying several clear-cut chances in what was an entertaining encounter.
Paraguay lead the way in Group B following their hard-fought victory over Mali, a game in which both teams conjured up some stunning goals. The South Americans shot into an early 2-0 lead, only for the Africans to cancel out their advantage almost as quickly. In the end, however, an Alan Rodriguez penalty gave the Paraguayans the perfect start to the competition.
Also in Group B, New Zealand reacted just in time to snatch a crucial point against Turkey, though their joy was tempered by a late red card for their goalscorer, team captain Max Mata.
The games Group A Colombia 0-1 Ghana India 0-3 USA
Group B New Zealand 1-1 Turkey* *Paraguay 3-2 Mali
Moment of the day
What we learned 1. First time for India. Though the hosts failed to mark the country’s very first match in a FIFA tournament with a win, their fans at least made a big impression, providing lots of colour and passion in New Delhi and making their feelings for football abundantly clear. This U-17 World Cup should provide a platform for the development of the game in this part of the world.
2. Hungry for more. After collecting the adidas Silver Boot at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, USA captain Josh Sargent is after yet more silverware. The forward took his FIFA tournament goal tally to six by scoring his side’s opener against India. Can he kick on and finish among the leading marksmen once again?
3. Guaraní front men flex their muscles. In qualifying for India 2017, Paraguay averaged 1.77 goals per game in the South American U-17 Championship. They stayed in among the goals against Mali, scoring three in all, the fifth time in La Albirroja’s history that they have struck as many or more in the competition, in 11 games to date.
The stat of the day 22 - the number of consecutive FIFA U-17 World Cup matches in which Ghana have now scored at least once, a new record for the competition, taking them past the previous best set by Germany.
The quote “I’m disappointed. I’ve always asked my players not to turn their backs on the ball, and that’s exactly what we’ve gone and done today. It was a lapse in concentration that cost us the chance to win the game. We’ve learned the lesson and I’m sure the boys will do better second time around.” Turkey coach Mehmet Hacioglu reacts to his side’s 1-1 draw with New Zealand