Kolkata: England made it’s way to its first ever semi-final in the U-17 World Cup thrashing a wasteful USA 4-1 in the quarter-finals at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Margao on Saturday. Rhian Brewster scored a hat-trick, while Morgan Gibbs White scored one to help the ‘Three Lions’ remain in the hunt for it’s first U-17 title.
The match was deemed to be one of equals until the trio of Foden-Brewster-Hudson Odoi decided to tear apart one of the best defences in the tournament. The Euro U-17 runners-up displayed a brilliant attacking display of football, often finding ample space in the attacking third to showcase their magic. Liverpool sensation Brewster scored in the 11th and the 14th minute first with a brilliant shot, followed by a well placed chip over the keeper’s head. He could have had his hat-trick minutes later but was denied by US custodian Justin Garces on two occasions as England went into the break with a three goal cushion.
While most teams would have preferred a defensive style with a three goal lead but England went the other way and continued with the attacks as ‘Baby Nats’ started on the back foot in the second half.
Not that US didn’t create any chance, they did but we’re wasteful upfront with Josh Sargent, Tim Weah, Akinola and Carleton all missing the target from close ranges. Hitting the post is considered a bad omen in football and that is exactly what happened with US, who hit two in the bar. They did earn a consolation goal in the 72nd minute, but we’re sent packing home in the final minute as Brewster finally completed his hat-trick via a penalty, with Segino Dest sent off for the foul.
England next face the winner between Brazil and Germany in the semi-finals on Wednesday, while USA return home bringing an abrupt end to yet another dream run in the World Cup.
Mali vs Ghana
In what was a repeat of the African Cup of Nations finale six months ago, Mali defeated Ghana by 2-1 margin of goals on a wet rainy evening at the Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium in Guwahati on Saturday. Hadji Drame and Djemoussa Traore scored for Mali while Kudus Mohammad put one back for Ghana, it was however not enough to inspire the Black Starlets .
2015 runners-up Mali started on the front foot as danger man Lassana N’Diaye almost scored two in the opening few minutes. Nonetheless, the Eagles were ahead when Drame’s shot went past the Ghana custodian. Another goal followed in the 61st minute but Ghana replied with a goal via a penalty soon.
The match could have well gone into the shootout but Ibrahim sulley’s goal in the 40th minute was disallowed for a foul in the Mali box and Fabin will be disappointed, for things could have been different had the goal been allowed. Mali meanwhile remained the only African team and will face the winner of Spain-Iran in the semi-finals as they aim to complete a African hat-trick.