FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017
Last four gear up for Wednesday showdowns
23 Oct 2017
- Semi-finals at India 2017 take place on Wednesday
- Brazil meet England in Kolkata; Mali and Spain clash in Navi Mumbai
- Winners advance to final in Kolkata on Saturday
DAY PREVIEW – The FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 has reached the semi-final stage, with four teams set to battle on Wednesday for a spot in Saturday’s final in Kolkata. The midweek contests include a classic World Cup match-up, while the other is a meeting of two continental champions.
The early kick-off sees Brazil take another European heavyweight when they meet England in Kolkata. The South Americans needed to come from behind to defeat Germany in a pulsating quarter-final clash on Sunday. The English, meanwhile, cruised into the last four with a convincing result over USA in Goa on Saturday.
The other semi-final sees Mali and Spain clash in Navi Mumbai. Both sides have impressed in reaching the last four, with Mali overcoming West African rivals Ghana in their quarter-final in Guwahati, while Spain overpowered Iran with an efficient display in Kochi.
* The games*
Wednesday 25 October
Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium, Kolkata
Brazil-England (17:00 local time)
Dr. DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai
Mali-Spain (20:00 local time)
What you need to know
1. Change of venue. Following a thorough assessment of the pitch conditions at Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, which has been affected by severe rainfall over the past few days, FIFA has decided to move the venue of Wednesday’s semi-final between Brazil and England to Kolkata’s Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium.
2. Previous meetings. Wednesday’s match-ups have occurred before at a U-17 World Cup. When Brazil and England lock horns, it will be the third time that these two nations have faced each other, with each having claimed a win in their previous two encounters at Korea Republic 2007 and Chile 2015. Spain defeated Mali 1-0 in their only previous contest, which took place back in 1997.
3. A trio of champions. Among the four sides to remain at India 2017, three of them have experience of lifting silverware at the conclusion of a competition. Brazil’s quest to win a fourth U-17 World Cup title comes on the back of being crowned South American champions. The match-up between Mali and Spain, meanwhile, is a clash between the U-17 kings of Africa and Europe.
4. Hard to beat. Despite conceding a penalty in their quarter-final win over Germany, Brazil goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao has proven difficult to beat in India. With a save rate of 88.9 per cent, the Cruzeiro custodian has yet to allow an opposition player to find the back of his net from open play.
5 - The number of goals that joint-top scorer Lassana N’Diaye is currently sitting on, with the Mali striker looking to push clear at the summit. Hot on his heels are England’s Rhian Brewster and Spain captain Abel Ruiz with four goals each, plus several more with three to their name.
"We won’t change our plan. We’re working towards a way, which we want to play in any game, with respect to a ‘lesser nation’ in a qualifier or if we’re playing in the semi-final of a World Cup. Our intentions will always be the same and that’s the whole point of having a plan. You can put it into action in the most extreme of situations and it doesn’t come any bigger at this moment in time than the semi-final of a World Cup.”
England coach Steve Cooper