- Full slate with four Round of 16 matches on Wednesday
- Hosts Brazil enter the knockout phase
- North American and Asian champions battle in Brasilia
Wednesday boasts a packed Round of 16 menu at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™, with four match-ups that include the two top performers in the tournament thus far.
Brazil and France, the only sides to complete the group stage with a perfect three wins from three matches, will each begin the knockout phase in the late kick-off times. The hosts are pitted against a familiar foe, Chile, who earlier in the tournament notched a breakthrough win over Haiti. It was La Rojita's first triumph at a U-17 global finals away from home soil in over two decades.
Les Bleuets have drawn Australia and will come up against Noah Botic, the Joeys' talismanic No9 and one of Brazil 2019's top goalscorers. Australia are on a high after defeating Nigeria in their Group B finale to reach the last 16. France, meanwhile, turned in a trio of impressive performances in Group C, securing wins over Chile, Korea Republic and Haiti.
Wednesday's early encounters see Japan facing Mexico in Brasilia while Spain take on Senegal in Goiania. The Japanese are the only team in Brazil who have yet to concede a goal, while Mexico are fresh off putting eight past Solomon Islands. The Young Lions of Teranga emerged in second place from one of the most competitive groups in the tournament, which included Japan and the Netherlands. Now they'll meet the India 2017 runners-up, keen to go one step further in Brazil and lift the trophy for the first time.
📅 The games
Round of 16
📌 What you need to know
“There’s no such thing as a substitute in this team. There are players who play a bit more than the rest, and the Haiti game was an opportunity to give them a rest. We’re a close-knit team of 21 players in which everyone has a role to play."
France centre-half Marvin Tshibuabua
Brazil, Mexico and France have combined to win this competition six times. The Seleção are searching four their fourth title, which would pull them within one of record holders Nigeria. Tournament debutants Senegal have already made history by advancing to the knockout phase, but head coach Malick Daf and his squad are ambitious to achieve more.
🔎 Players to watch
Noah Botic (Forward, Australia)
The Joeys' hero against Nigeria, Botic's brace gave his side their first win over the Golden Eaglets at a U-17 World Cup. His four goals are one off the pace of the Netherlands' Sontje Hansen in the adidas Golden Boot race. If Australia are to outgun the favoured French, the Hoffenheim youth player will almost surely be on the scoresheet.
Riku Handa (Defender, Japan)
A calm organiser for one of the best defences in Brazil, his playing style bears similarities to senior team counterpart Maya Yoshida. Handa will be tasked with slowing down Efrain Alvarez, Bruce El Mesmari and the rest of El Tri's attack, which struggled to find the net early but got back on track in their final group stage match.