Saturday 21 October 2017, 19:15

Mali and England keep trophy bid alive

  • Mali and England still on course after quarter-final wins

  • Ghana and USA eliminated from India 2017

  • Semi-finals (Wednesday): Mali vs. Spain/Iran; Germany/Brazil vs. England

THE DAY REPLAYED - Mali and England reached the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and will compete for a place in the final on Wednesday. They will discover their last-four opponents on Sunday.

In torrential rain in Guwahati, African champions Mali edged past two-time U-17 World Cup winners Ghana 2-1, while the Three Lions were too good for USA, winning 4-1.

The games Mali 2-1 Ghana USA 1-4 England

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What we learned High-flying Eaglets. Chile 2015 runners-up Mali began the tournament in India with an inauspicious 3-2 defeat to Paraguay. They have responded well since, however, recording comfortable wins over Turkey (3-0), New Zealand (3-1) and Iraq (5-1), followed by Saturday's victory against Ghana in what was a repeat of this year's CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations final. It would appear that losing in their first game was the wake-up call the Malians needed.

Three goals for the Three Lions. Rhian Brewster shined in his side's last-eight clash with USA in Goa, scoring a hat-trick to spearhead England's passage into the semi-finals for the first time in tournament history. Brewster netted twice within 240 seconds (11 and 14 minutes), set up Morgan Gibbs White to make it 3-0 (64 minutes), and ended up with the match ball after converting a stoppage-time penalty.

First-time winner on the cards? With Ghana's exit confirmed, the chances of a first-time winner lifting the trophy on Saturday 28 October have increased that much more. Alongside England and Mali, three of Sunday's four quarter-finalists (Germany, Iran, and Spain) have yet to win the competition. Only three-time winners Brazil can prevent a debut victor this year.

Goodbye, Goa! The tournament started on 6 October with six host cities, but after England's match with USA, we say goodbye to Goa, the 'Pearl of the Orient', which follows New Delhi in bowing out of proceedings. Fans were able to enjoy a total of nine games (six group matches, two in the last 16, and one quarter-final) at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The stat of the day 15 - Mali have scored 15 goals at the tournament to equal the previous highest scorers France. Curiously, every one of the African side's goals has come from open play, a total that no other quarter-finalist has ever managed.

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