- Group E: Spain and Argentina pick up wins
- Group F: Paraguay finish top, Mexico stamp ticket
- Round of 16 begins on Tuesday
The final matchday of the group stage at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup™ was notable for winning performances from the four Spanish-speaking countries on Sunday’s slate, who have all advanced to the Round of 16.
Spain and Argentina got things started in the early evening. Despite rotating their squad, La Rojita defeated African champions Cameroon (2-0), who exit the tournament with three defeats and a significant feeling of disappointment. Tajikistan will likely also harbour regrets, as they only required one point against Argentina to pursue their adventure in South America, but instead fell to a 3-1 loss. Spain finish top in Group E, ahead of La Albiceleste on goal difference.
In Group F, Paraguay and Mexico emerged victorious. Los Guaranies got the better of Italy, moving ahead of their opponents in the standings. In Vitoria, Mexico sealed their spot in the knockout stage as one of the best-placed third teams by comfortably defeating tournament debutants Solomon Islands.
📌 Memorable moments
Ahead of the rest
It was an innocuous-looking looping header, struck with very little power from the edge of the box, that finally sealed Paraguay’s victory over Italy. And Junior Quinonez's unorthodox goal changed everything, because it propelled La Albirrojita to the summit of their section and pitted them against South American neighbours Argentina in the Round of 16. This is the second successive time that the Paraguayans have topped their group at a U-17 World Cup.
Palacios’ perfect pass
The football rivalry that exists between Brazil and Argentina is well documented. It is hardly surprising, then, that every time La Albiceleste have played at Brazil 2019, the home fans have taken great pleasure in cheering on their opponents. On Sunday, it was Tajikistan who benefitted from this additional support, but in the end it was a magnificent piece of skill by Matias Palacios that got spectators at the Estadio Kleber Andrade on their feet. In the 89th minute, the Argentina midfielder produced an eye-catching half-roulette half-backheel flick that set up team-mate Matias Godoy beautifully for the South Americans’ third and decisive goal.
Summing it up
From Brasilia to Goiania and Vitoria, fans were forced to get their calculators out on the last round of group stage matches. Points, goal difference and fair play points – everything came into play to ascertain the four third-placed teams with the best records. But the group phase also concluded with a round number: Italy-Paraguay was the 700th match in the history of the U-17 World Cup!
(The Netherlands celebrate Argentina's goal that eliminates Tajikistan ... and helps them qualify!)
📅 Up next
5, 6 & 7 November