- Spain and Turkey first European sides to reach FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017
- Three more sides from UEFA U-17 European Championship will head to India
Semi-finalists and winner of a play-off qualify for the global finals
Spain and Turkey booked their tickets to the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 with quarter-final victories at the UEFA U-17 European Championship in Croatia on Friday.
Turkey were the first side to secure their spot in India this October after a slender 1-0 victory over Hungary in Velika Gorica. The winner came via an Andras Csonka own goal after 20 minutes of a somewhat scrappy last-eight tie. Mehmet Hacioglu's side saw off some late pressure to earn their first appearance on the global stage at this level since reaching the quarter-finals at Nigeria 2009.
In the second quarter-final of the day, Spain came from behind to defeat France 3-1 in Varazdin. Amine Gouiri gave France an early lead with his eighth goal of the tournament, tying a record set by compatriot Odsonne Edouard in Bulgaria two years ago. Spain soon replied through right-back Mateu Morey before Abel Ruiz gave the Spanish a half-time lead with a penalty for his record-tying eighth goal of the competition. Santi Denia’s side wrapped up victory shortly after the break with a well-taken insurance marker from Sergio Gomez. The result confirmed Spain’s return to a U-17 World Cup since a third-place finish at Nigeria 2009.
Two more spots for India 2017 will be decided on Saturday, with England facing Republic of Ireland, while Germany take on old foes the Netherlands in the last quarter-final tie.
Despite defeat, France and Hungary could earn a reprieve and play off for a chance to reach India. The two defeated quarter-finalists with the best record will go head-to-head in a play-off for a U-17 World Cup ticket on Tuesday 16 May.