Croatia 3-2 Spain: Home side find a dramatic late winner

The prime place in Spain’s UEFA Nations League group was there for the using on Thursday night in Zagreb. Even a tie at Croatia would’ve set manager Luis Enrique’s side in a rather snug position heading into the closing matchday. But a stoppage-time goal introduced a important minute that absolutely opened up the group.

Croatia earned a remarkable 3-2 victory, as Spain 2 times had been capable to stage the scoreline. All five goals came in the next half, right after an initial 45 minutes that was short on options at goal. Several likelihood had been found early on, with maybe the ideal of the bunch coming just in advance of the half-time crack, as Isco’s chip shot virtually made its way earlier goalie Lovre Kalinić.

Spain ongoing that attacking method in the next half, and appeared most likely to open the scoring. Rather, Hoffenheim attacker Andrej Kramarić found the again of the net right after a lousy clearance in the place kick area. Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos netted his to start with intercontinental goal only minutes later, making the score 1-1.

A excellent move from Luka Modrić set up Croatia’s next tally, with defender Tin Jedvaj undertaking the destruction. After this sort of a muted to start with half, the tempo was drastically improved in the next as the two squads searched for additional goals.

Spain had been awarded a late place kick-kick, and skipper Sergio Ramos set away the equaliser from the place. In the close although it was Jedvaj placing again, this time in the 93rd minute, to provide all three points for Croatia.

The closing match among England and Croatia on Sunday will make a decision Spain’s destiny. A draw will see them end atop the group, whilst a victory for both sides will thrust the winner ahead of La Furia Roja.

There had been surely some positives to be taken from this effectiveness for Spain, but Luis Enrique will be disappointed in his team for conceding the late winner. Now, they need to sit and hold out.

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Xabi Alonso tipping Spain and Germany for World Cup results

Former Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso believes Germany will be the team to defeat at this summer’s FIFA World Cup, although latest Bayern string-puller Thiago Alcantara knows he will have to prevent several of his Bundesliga rivals if he is to arise triumphant with Spain this summer months.

Alonso lifted the World Cup in 2010, sandwiched in amongst European Championship triumphs in 2008 and 2012, and with 3 Bundesliga titles and two Champions Leagues to his identity, the 36-year-old certainly knows what it takes to be thriving.

Talking to forward of the World Cup, he admitted that Joachim Löw’s men – immediately after his possess region – are kinds to observe out for in Russia.

“I am not just stating it, but I would set [Spain] among the favourites because I never see any facet that’s far better than Spain proper now,” he explained. “I do not know what is heading to transpire in the games although. Germany is yet another of the large favourites. They are an extremely robust facet and they’re often there or thereabouts.”

Alonso observed initial hand the number of remarkable new potential customers rising via the Bundesliga in current yrs and he feels that although the likes of Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and For every Mertesacker may no extended be all around, Germany has succeeded in replacing them adequately, although also lowering the regular age of the squad.

Timo Werner, Julian Brandt, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich are all set to play essential roles in an energetic facet Alonso fancies for at the very least a remaining 4 berth.

“The way they have been playing, it would be a significant surprise if they never make the semis, because they’re the champions and because of the new era who’ve to appear into the team,” he explained, incorporating that “Brazil is also proper in there – I feel those people 3 are above the rest. Then you can find Argentina, France and it’s possible a surprise or two. Why not?”

Spain’s hopes will be pinned on the shoulders of Bayern midfielder Thiago, who claims he is prepared to fill an important job on the field for his region in Russia – a person he has honed in the Bundesliga, proper at the coronary heart of the motion.

“It can be a job I am ready for because I’ve performed in it with Bayern,” Thiago explained. “Of system it is really an important position for the organisation of the team and I hope to fill it properly. We are a facet who like to keep the ball, like to push, shift all around and we take pleasure in playing the way we play – we would like to get this World Cup begun tomorrow.”

Germany and Spain could meet up with at the earliest in the semi-finals.


Hamann: I assume Argentina, Brazil or Spain will triumph

Didi Hamann would be “very surprised” if Germany becomes the first side in fifty-six many years to keep the FIFA World Cup™ and believes the Russia 2018 winners will be Argentina, Brazil or Spain.

“With the personnel, we have received, I assume in depth we may be superior to 4 many years ago, but I don’t assume the first eleven are superior,” the fifty nine-times-capped former defensive midfielder explained to Gulf News. “There are a number of positions I’m genuinely fearful about and I’d be very shocked if Germany were being equipped to defend the title.

“In Miroslav Klose, Philipp Lahm and For every Mertesacker, they lost 300 caps after the previous World Cup. There are some gifted youngsters coming by means of now, but they are nonetheless to confirm their class. We have noticed it in the Champions League – the cream rises to the top rated and the World Cup is a one of a kind match, occasionally folks get found out there.”

Germany was being the only European team to win all ten of their Russia 2018 qualifiers, scoring 43 goals and conceding just 4 in the system. Joachim Low’s rates also conquered previous year’s FIFA Confederations Cup.

However, in their previous 4 outings, they have drawn with England, France and Spain and lost 1- at home to Brazil. And, in spite of Germany fielding below-toughness groups against them, Hamann was still left impressed sufficient to tag La Roja and A Seleção as the groups to conquer in Russia – along with yet another surprise side.

“We performed Brazil a number of months ago and Spain were being likely the superior side against us,” stated the 44-year-old. “You shouldn’t study way too much into friendlies, but I assume Spain and Brazil.

“And then the way that Argentina capable, for the reason that they wanted to conquer Ecuador in the previous game of South American qualifiers to get in. They went 1- down after two minutes and Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick and received that game.

“Sometimes when you have a close shave and qualify like that, and with it also quite possibly currently being Messi’s previous World Cup, I would not rule Argentina out possibly.”

Germany faces Mexico, Sweden and Korea Republic in Group F at Russia 2018.

Hamann was a section of a Germany side that Croatia dumped out of France 1998. The former Bayern Munich and Liverpool midfielder also aided his state reach the Korea/Japan 2002 Ultimate, wherever they were being undone by Ronaldo.

Valverde: Spain’s 6-1 victory over Argentina could be distracting

Valverde: Spain’s 6-1 victory over Argentina could be distracting

Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona Manager, Ernesto Valverde believes that the 6-1 win recorded by Spain over Argentina in an International friendly match in preparations for the summer World Cup can be distracting and ultimately dangerous.

The 2010 World Champions thrashed a Messi-less 2014 finalist after Isco scored a hat-trick and other goals from Diego Costa, Thiago Alcantara, and Iago Aspas completed the massacre.

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has earlier cautioned his side of excessive excitement after extending his unbeaten run in charge to 18 matches stating that a friendly victory means nothing for his side’s World Cup hopes.

Vaverde stands with Lopetegui as he stated that he is unsure if the 6-1 victory is a good thing for the team at this point in time. He noted that over-confidence could be a problem for Spain seeing that they made light weight of an Argentina team that consists of many stars.

“We can think that we will win it all,” said Valverde. “6-1 is a wide margin, but that’s all.

“It’s dangerous because it can make you think that you have more points than you have before you start.

“[Argentina] lost a friendly game, but that doesn’t mean anything. The World Cup has not started. There’s nothing won by Spain or lost by Argentina.”


Group B: European heavyweights to do battle


After beating Italy to top spot in Europe’s Group G on the road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, Spain now face another stern test after being pitted against European heavyweights Portugal, as well as Africa’s Morocco and Asia’s IR Iran.


Key Game
Portugal v Spain (15 June 2018, Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi)

A mouth-watering tie in Sochi lies in store. You could hear the gasps at Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace when these two European heavyweights – and neighbours – were drawn alongside each other in Group B. This is a game not to be missed. 

What you need to know
Russia presents familiar territory for Portugal. As UEFA EURO 2016 winners, Portugal secured their berth to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, where Fernando Santos’s side defeated Mexico in the play-off for third place.

IR Iran will be looking to Sardar Azmoun for goals. The 22-year-old striker, who plys his trade in Russia with Rubin Kazan, notched 11 goals in qualifying, the same number as Tim Cahill (Australia), Christian Eriksen (Denmark) and Romelu Lukaku (Belgium).

Morocco topped a tightly-contested African zone Group C to secure qualification to Russia 2018, pipping Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon and Mali.

The stat
3 – Iran were the third team to book their place at the 2018 World Cup after hosts Russia and 2014 hosts Brazil.  


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Man City have 2020 vision thanks to new David Silva deal


David Silva has signed a one-year contract extension at Manchester City, the Premier League leaders have announced.

The Spain playmaker, whose previous deal expired at the end of next season, is now committed to the club until 2020.

That will take the 31-year-old’s service at the Etihad Stadium to a decade.

Source: PA


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Balde: My heart told me to choose Senegal over Spain – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Balde: My heart told me to choose Senegal over Spain

Joseph Ebogo of Cameroon is challenged by Keita Balde of Senegal during the Afcon Quarter Final match between Senegal and Cameroon on the 28 January 2017 at Franceville , Gabon Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Nov 06, 2017. 12:00

Senegalese international forward Keita Balde Diao has disclosed that it was his heart that told him to choose the Lions of Teranga over the Spain national team.

The highly attacker was born in Arbúcies, Catalonia, Spain to Senegalese parents and he came up through the FC Barcelona’s youth academy.

Keita, who joined Monaco-based side AS Monaco from Italian club Lazio in August, 2017, was eligible to play for Spain, but he chose to play for his father’s country, Senegal.

“I waited for a Spain call-up but then my heart told me to play for Senegal,” Balde told L’Equipe.

“I took this decision after discussing it with my parents and to me, it was an unbelievable feeling to play my first game for the national team in front of my family.

The 22-year-old is already enjoying life at Monaco having scored three goals in six French Ligue 1 matches.

“When I came to Italy, at 16, I learned things that aren’t taught in Spain, the physical and tactical parts of football,” he continued.

“I wanted to leave Lazio, experience a new football style, know different people. I have followed Ligue 1 and Monaco last season, they did great in the league and in the Champions League.

“My friend Benjamin Mendy, whom I talked to before signing, also spoke highly of the club.”


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Andres Iniesta back in Barcelona squad for Saturday match


Despite trailing Barcelona by eight points in La Liga, Sid Lowe feels Real Madrid will have chances to mount a comeback.

BARCELONA — Andres Iniesta has been included in Barcelona’s squad for Saturday’s match against Sevilla after being given the all clear to return from a thigh injury.

Iniesta has missed Barca’s last two matches but returned to training on Thursday and was included in Julen Lopetegui’s Spain squad on Friday for next week’s friendlies against Russia and Costa Rica.

Despite his call-up for international duty, though, there had still been doubts about whether he would be available for the match with Sevilla at Camp Nou.

But Barca’s medical team gave him the green light to make his comeback after training on Friday, providing a timely boost for Ernesto Valverde, who saw midfielders Sergi Roberto and Andre Gomes both ruled out for around a month earlier this week.

“Iniesta is the same as Messi, he’s an extraordinary player,” Valverde said when asked if Barca were too dependent on their captain.

“It’s normal that it tells when he doesn’t play. The presence of Andres — or, in this case, the absence — is always noticed. But we also have other players with good qualities that can do well for us [in midfield].”

As well as Roberto and Gomes, Barca are also missing Rafinha, Arda Turan, Ousmane Dembele and Aleix Vidal due to various injuries.

Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta has been included in the Barcelona squad to face Sevilla on Saturday.

Dembele was ruled out until the New Year in September, but there had been hoping his recovery was ahead of schedule this week when he posted a photograph on Instagram wearing a pair of football boots.

But Valverde tempered the excitement, saying: “He did a recovery session in the sand… without boots.

“It’s the normal process. I spoke with him, he’s happy, things are going well. The recovery is going as planned. We don’t expect to have him back before Christmas.”

Barca can make it 16 games unbeaten if they avoid defeat against Sevilla on Saturday.

A win would also see them move on to 31 points from a possible 33 in La Liga, taking them temporarily 11 points clear of Real Madrid, who don’t play Las Palmas until Sunday.

“This is just getting started,” said Valverde, warning against complacency after Barca’s encouraging start to the campaign.

“It’s absurd to be doing somersaults at this stage of the season, everything can change in a week.

“We have to focus on ourselves and on our own game. Right now, that means being competitive and winning against Sevilla this weekend.”

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.


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England, Spain battle for U-17 crown – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


England, Spain battle for U-17 crown

England’s Rhian Brewster (L) celebrates after scoring the 3-1 lead during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 semi final match between Brazil and England at Salt Lake stadium in Calcutta, eastern India, 25 October 2017. England won 3-1. EPA/PIYAL ADHIKARY

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 18:30

England and Spain will battle for the right to be called U-17 World Cup winners when they meet in the final at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday, kick-off at 16h30 CAT.

England’s path to the final has seen them top Group F ahead of Iraq, Mexico and Chile, before defeating Japan on penalties, United States 4-1 and Brazil 3-1 in the last 16, quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.

Steve Cooper’s Young Three Lions have been one of the best balanced teams at the tournament, scoring a total of 18 goals while conceding just four at the other end. In striker Rhian Brewster – who has netted successive hat-tricks in the last two rounds – they have the tournament’s leading scorer with seven strikes thus far.

“The players will be planned and prepared for it [the final],” said coach Cooper. “We’re really enjoying being out here and we have a great opportunity to make history, but we know the experience will serve us for the future as well.”

Spain, meanwhile, ousted one of the tournament favourites Mali in the semifinals, putting in a controlled performance to quell the Africans’ superior physicality and claim a 3-1 triumph.

La Rojita have lost just once in this tournament: a group stage defeat at the hands of Brazil – the same team England overcame in the semis.

Spain and England will be renewing their rivalry just over five months after they met in the final of the U-17 European Championships in Croatia. That match finished 2-2 before Spain won 4-1 on penalties.

“We do have to prepare. We know we have beaten them in the final of the Euro in Croatia,” said Spain coach Santiago Denia after the semifinal against Mali. “England has improved and we need to improve on things we did today.”

Both teams will be looking for their first-ever U-17 World Cup title. While this will be England’s first appearance in the championship match, Spain have appeared in three previous finals – 1991, 2003 and 2007 – all of which they lost.


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Mali outclassed by Spain in U-17 World Cup semifinals – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Mali outclassed by Spain in U-17 World Cup semifinals

Lassana N’Diaye (L) of Mali is in action against Victor Chust (2-L) of Spain during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 semi final match between Mali and Spain at the D Y Patil Stadium in Mumbai, India, 25 October 2017. EPA/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI

Helder Ribiero

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 18:26

Mali were beaten 3-1 by Spain in their 2017 U-17 World Cup semifinal at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday.

The Young Eagles were outclassed by their Spanish counterparts, who were more clinical in attack and racked up three goals through a first-half brace from the excellent Abel Ruiz and a second-half header from Ferran Torres. Mali’s Lassana N’Diaye at least scored his sixth goal of the tournament to give his side some consolation.

Spain started strongly and nearly claimed the lead inside the first two minutes, with Sergio Gomez denied by a fine save from Youssouf Koita, before they had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down.

Yet the Europeans had to wait only until the 19th minute to open the scoring – and from a spot kick at that. Abdoulaye Diaby was guilty of a clumsy foul on Cesar Gelabert, and Abel Ruiz stroked home the penalty to make it 1-0.

Mali looked to be working their way back into the game as the first half entered its closing stage, but on 43 minutes the Africans gave the ball away in midfield and Gelabert played a superb pass to put Abel Ruiz in for his second goal of the game.

At 2-0 up, Spain entered the second half full of confidence and created a handful of chances to kill the game off, with Abel Ruiz guilty of missing a couple of glaring chances to complete his hat-trick.

There was controversy just past the hour mark when Cheick Doucoure struck a superb long-range shot which hit the underside of the crossbar, rebounded over the goal line and bounced back out into play.

Television replays confirmed that the ball crossed the line and Mali should have been on the score board, but the lack of goal line technology meant they were cruelly denied a way back into the game.

With just under 20 minutes to play, the Europeans found their third goal and ended the game as a contest. Sergio Gomez floated in a cross from the left by-line and Ferran Torres scored with a downward header for 3-0.

Mali gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Lassana N’Diaye took advantage of a slip at the back from Hugo Guillamon to score yet another goal at the World Cup and reduce the deficit to 3-1 in the 74th minute.

Yet there were no further goals for the West Africans, who were beaten 3-1 and have to settle for a spot in the third-place playoff against Brazil on Saturday. Spain will face England in an all-European final in Kolkata later the same day.

Mali (0) 1 (N’Diaye 74’)
Spain (2) 3 (Abel Ruiz 19’ pen 43’, Ferran Torres 71’)

Mali: Youssouf Koita, Boubacar Haidara, Djemoussa Traore (Mamadou Traore 69’), Fode Konate, Hadji Drame, Salam Jiddou, Abdoulaye Diaby (Mamadi Fofana 50’), Mamadou Samake, Ibrahim Kane, Lassana N’Diaye, Cheick Doucoure (Seme Camara 84’)

Spain: Alvaro Fernandez, Mateu Jaume, Juan Miranda, Hugo Guillamon, Victor Chust, Antonio Blanco, Ferran Torres (Victor Perea 79’), Mohamed Moukhliss (Diego Pampin 90’), Abel Ruiz, Sergio Gomez, Cesar Gelabert (Carlos Beitia 68’)


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U-17 World Cup: Mali 1-3 Spain – As it happened – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 18:18

Welcome to live coverage of the 2017 U-17 World Cup semifinal between Mali and Spain from the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

All times CAT

90+6′ – Full time – Spain advance to the U-17 World Cup final. Mali will rightly complain that they were denied a legitimate goal, but the boys in red and blue were the better team in this match and deserve the victory.

90+5′ – Yellow card – Spain’s Jaume is booked for a cynical foul near the edge of his own box.

90+3′ – Drame drags a shot just wide, as Mali throw everyone forward in search of another goal.

90+1′ – There will be five minutes of added time.

90′ – Substitution – Moukhliss makes way for Diego Pampin in Spain’s last change.

87′ – Yellow card – Camara cautioned just a few minutes after coming off the bench.

85′ – Yellow card – Haidara cautioned for a hand in the face of Moukhliss.

84′ – Substitution – Seme Camara replaces Doucoure in Mali’s last change.

83′ – Another Mali chance as a deflected cross makes it awkward for Drame to get a shot away and Fernandez gratefully smothers the low effort.

82′ – A promising Mali attack ends with a tame ball into Fernandez’s hands. The Young Eagles must make the most of every chance to put Spain under pressure…

79′ – Substitution – Ferran makes way for Victor Perea in Spain’s second change.

77′ – Mamadou Traore with a shot… just off target, that had Fernandez worried! Mali’s belief is growing…

74′ – GOAL! Mali 1-3 Spain – Or is it done and dusted? Guillamon slips up in defence and N’Diaye continues his scoring form with a fine finish to beat Fernandez at his near post!

72′ – That is surely game, set and match in favour of Spain. They will go on to face England in Saturday’s semifinal in Kolkata.

71′ – GOAL! Mali 0-3 Spain – Gomez chips in a cross from the left and Ferran gets up to score Spain’s third goal with a downward header!

69′ – Substitution – Mamadou Traore replaces Djemoussa Traore in the second swap for the Africans. Fernandez makes a sharp save at his near post from N’Diaye.

68′ – Substitution – Carlos Beitia replaces Gelabert in Spain’s first change.

65′ – The Mali bench is remonstrating with the referee… they’ve seen the TV replays on the big screen and know it should have been a goal.

63′ – If there was goal-line technology at this tournament, Mali would have been credited with a goal just then! So unlucky for the West Africans!

62′ – Doucoure smashes a great long-range effort which hits the underside of the crossbar, bounces over the goal line and back into play, before N’Diaye heads wide from the rebound!

60′ – Abel Ruiz with another chance to complete his hat-trick but he curls his shot over the target!

59′ – It looks much more likely that Spain will find a third rather than Mali reducing the deficit…

58′ – Gomez with a cut-back to find Ferran on the edge of the box, but the midfielder’s shot drifts just wide!

57′ – Yellow card – Doucoure into the book for a late challenge on Blanco.

54′ – Panic in the Mali box after Miranda puts in a floated cross from the left, but eventually the Young Eagles get it clear.

52′ – Mali shifting their formation a little after that substitution, hoping to work a way back into this game.

50′ – Substitution – Diaby makes way for Mamadi Fofana in Mali’s first change.

48′ – Abel Ruiz runs in behind the defence and this must be a hat-trick… no, saved by Koita! That was a weak effort from the Spanish striker.

47′ – Drame with a shot/cross which runs just too strongly for Traore at the back post.

46′ – Back underway in the second half, no changes from either team at the break.

45+3′ – Half time – There’s not much between the teams in terms of balance of play, but Spain have been more incisive and ruthless in attack and therefore deserve their two-goal lead.

45+2′ – Yellow card – Jiddou goes into the book for a rough aerial challenge.

45+1′ – There will be two minutes of added time.

43′ – GOAL! Mali 0-2 Spain – Spain with a sucker-punch as Gelabert plays a great pass to put Abel Ruiz in on goal and he finishes superbly to make it 2-0!

42′ – Doucoure with a downward header from a corner kick, but the ball drifts wide of the far post!

41′ – Mali on a dangerous counter which ends with Traore heading over the crossbar from Drame’s cross!

40′ – Abel Ruiz almost directs a cheeky flick into the back of the net but he’s denied by a combination of Koita and Diaby!

38′ – Doucoure with an awkward shot on target which Fernandez bats away for a corner kick!

36′ – Kane connects well with a long-range effort, but it’s always drifting wide of the Spanish goal.

34′ – Mali finding it tough to create chances like they did in the opening quarter hour. Spain are keeping it tight at the back.

32′ – Almost 2-0 to Spain as Abel Ruiz gets a touch on Miranda’s left-flank cross, but the ball flashes just wide!

29′ – Gomez cracks a low shot just wide of Koita’s left-hand post, but he was offside anyway.

28′ – Spain controlling possession now with their passing. The Europeans can afford to sit back and let Mali try and force the issue.

25′ – Mali with a free kick just outside the box. Jiddou strikes for goal, but can’t lift his effort up and over the wall.

23′ – Mali with a free kick in a good attacking position, but Kane’s curling cross from the dead ball is well defended by Spain.

22′ – Midway through the first half, Mali will need to work hard to get back in the game from this point.

19′ – GOAL! Mali 0-1 Spain – Abel Ruiz tucks away the penalty and Spain lead the semifinal!

18′ – Penalty! Diaby trips up Gelabert and it’s a spot kick to Spain! No doubt about it this time, the referee had no choice but to penalise a clumsy foul in the box.

17′ – Jiddou with a long-range effort, but it’s over the crossbar and no worry for Fernandez.

15′ – Kane with great footwork to set up Traore with a shooting chance, but his effort after a quick turn is just over the angle over crossbar and post!

14′ – If anything it’s Mali who are looking more comfortable now, knocking the ball around with confidence.

12′ – A fine start to this match, both teams more than happy to commit men forward in attack!

9′ – N’Diaye almost takes advantage of confusion in the Spanish defence, poking the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper Alvaro only to see it run just wide of the near post!

8′ – Great footwork from Gelabert on the edge of the box, he makes space for a shot but pulls the ball wide of Koita’s left-hand post!

6′ – Drame with a shot with the outside of his foot which deflects off a defender and flashes just wide!

5′ – Spain’s Gelabert tumbles in the box under a challenge from Diaby and Mali are somewhat lucky not to concede a penalty  kick!

3′ – The subsequent corner kick brings another heart-in-mouth moment for Mali. Spain have started strongly, they look full of confidence.

2′ – Mali goalkeeper Koita with a great save to keep out a volley from Sergio Gomez! Spain very nearly claim an early lead…

1′ – Kick-off – We are underway in Navi Mumbai! Mali wear all yellow, while Spain are in red and dark blue.

16h20 – Our referee for this match is Japanese official Ryuji Sato.

16h10 – We can inform you that the winners of this match will face England in the final in Kolkata on Saturday. The English defeated Brazil 3-1 in the first semifinal earlier today, with Rhian Brewster scoring a hat-trick.

16h00 – Half an hour to kick-off, here are the starting XIs:

Mali: Youssouf Koita, Boubacar Haidara, Djemoussa Traore, Fode Konate, Hadji Drame, Salam Jiddou, Abdoulaye Diaby, Mamadou Samake, Ibrahim Kane, Lassana N’Diaye, Cheick Doucoure

Spain: Alvaro Fernandez, Mateu Jaume, Juan Miranda, Hugo Guillamon, Victor Chust, Antonio Blanco, Ferran Torres, Mohamed Moukhliss, Abel Ruiz, Sergio Gomez, Cesar Gelabert



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U-17 World Cup: Mali v Spain – LIVE – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 15:43

Welcome to live coverage of the 2017 U-17 World Cup semifinal between Mali and Spain from the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Live Commentary (press F5 to refresh):
All times CAT

16h00 – Half an hour to kick-off, here are the starting XIs:

Mali: Youssouf Koita, Boubacar Haidara, Djemoussa Traore, Fode Konate, Hadji Drame, Salam Jiddou, Abdoulaye Diaby, Mamadou Samake, Ibrahim Kane, Lassana Ndiaye, Cheick Doucoure

Spain: Alvaro Fernandez, Mateu Jaume, Juan Miranda, Hugo Guillamon, Victor Chust, Antonio Blanco, Ferran Torres, Mohamed Moukhliss, Abel Ruiz, Sergio Gomez, Cesar Gelabert



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Spain thump hapless Niger in Kochi – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Spain thump hapless Niger in Kochi

Spanish midfielder Antonio Blanco (L) duels for the ball against Niger’s Habibou Sofiane (R) during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group D soccer match between Spain and Niger at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, India, 10 October 2017. EPA/PRAKASH ELAMAKKARA

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Oct 10, 2017. 15:48

Spain thumped Niger 4-0 in the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup Group D match at the Jawaharlal Nehru in Kochi, India on Tuesday.

The victory takes the Junior Red Fury to the top of the group standings, while the Junior Menas slip down to third spot with one match left.

The Junior Red Fury looked dangerous each time they pushed forward and they managed to break the deadlock through Abel Ruiz.

The forward beat Niger goalkeeper Khaled Lawali from close range to make it 1-0 to Spain 21 minutes into the match.

The Junior Menas were struggling to contain the 2017 U17 European Championship winners, who doubled their lead in the 41st minute.

It was Ruiz once again who scored for the Junior Red Fury as he fired home to make it 2-0 to Spain after Niger had failed to clear the ball away.

Niger found it difficult to beat Spain keeper Alvaro Fernandez with the half-time break fast approaching.

The score was 3-0 to Spain at the interval after Cesar Gelabert fired past Lawali from close range on the stroke of half-time.

The Junior Red Fury were happy to keep possession in their own half in the opening stages of the second-half.

Niger coach Soumaila Tiemogo reacted by introducing lanky striker Hamid Galissoune a minute after the hour-mark.

Lawali had to produced a fantastic save to deny Cesar 10 minutes later as the Europeans looked to extend their lead.

However, the Junior Red Fury did extend their lead through Sergio Gomez, who beat Lawali with a low shot in the 82nd minute.

Niger could not snatch a late consolation goal and ultimately, Spain secured a 4-0 victory on the day.

Niger (0) 0

Spain (3) 4 (Ruiz 21′, 41′, Cesar 45+1′, Gomez 82′)

Niger: Lawali, Idrissa, Mossi, Moussa, Namata, Laba (Amoustapha 77′), Sofiane, Arzakou, Tinni (Galissoune 61′), Marou, Abdourahmane.

Spain: Fernández, More, Miranda, Guillamón, Víctor, Antonio Blanco (Garcia 70′), Moha, César (Alonso 79′), Torres, Ruiz (Diaz 84′), Gómez.


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Niger look to stun European champs Spain – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India


Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Oct 09, 2017. 18:00

Niger will square off with Spain in their second game at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Tuesday.

Kick-off is at 13h30 CAT.

The Group D encounter will be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Indian city of Kochi.

The Junior Menas secured a 1-0 win over North Korea in their first match which was played in Kochi on Saturday.

The victory left the tournament-debutants placed second on the Group D standings with three points. They are only behind the leaders Brazil on goal-difference.

Salim Abdourahmane, who scored Niger’s goal against North Korea, will be keen to inspire the 2017 U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) fourth-placed finishers to victory over Spain.

Meanwhile, Spain suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brazil in their maiden game which was played in Kochi on Saturday.

As a result, the Junior Red Fury are placed third on the Group D table without a single point. They are only ahead of fourth-placed North Korea on goal-difference.

The 2017 U17 European Championship winners will look to their inspirational captain Abel Ruiz when they take on Niger.

Referee Enrique Cáceres, who hails from Paraguay, will be in charge of the game between Niger and Spain.


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