By Samindra Kunti in Cariacica, Brazil
November 5 – On Tuesday, Angola and South Korea will kick off the knockout phase of the U-17 World Cup. Brazil, Nigeria and France have emerged from the group stages as favourites to lift the trophy.
The debutants Angola have been among the surprises packages at the tournament, progressing from Group A ahead of New Zealand and Canada. The Angolans have impressed with their attacking approach and will be slight favorites against the more organized and defensive Koreans, who qualified from Group B with six points behind group winners France.
Later on Tuesday, Nigeria encounter the Netherlands, who were all but eliminated before a heroic 4-0 win over the United States was enough for the European champions to ensure a ticket among the last 16 after dismal showings against both Japan and Senegal. The Super Eaglets didn’t maintain a perfect record in their group after two rearguard wins and a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Australia, but should have sufficient pedigree to overcome the Dutch.
In the group stages hosts Brazil and France were the only two teams to garner nine points.The Brazilians, aiming for a fourth world title, will play Chile in the round of sixteen while France meet Australia. In the standout clash of the last 16 Spain, unbeaten in the first round, meet Senegal.
The Senegalese defeated the United States and the Netherlands convincingly to book their place in the knockout round before suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat by Japan. The team of Malick Daf is participating in its maiden finals and will be out to spring a surprise against the technically gifted Spanish.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1600620689labto1600620689ofdlr1600620689owedi1600620689sni@o1600620689fni1600620689