By Samindra Kunti in Cariacica
November 8 – Brazil and Italy will headline the quarter-finals of the U17 World Cup. In the round of 16, all the African teams were eliminated, including record-champions Nigeria.
The last eight nations in Brazil will have a distinct European flavour with 50% of quarter-finalists representing the old continent. Italy defeated Paraguay in the second round with a late strike from substitute Gaetano Oristanio. His swerving free-kick earned the Italians a deserved win and a mouthwatering last-eight encounter with the hosts, who laboured to a 3-2 win over Chile, but will miss their star Thales Magno with injury. The Vasco Da Gama player will miss the rest of the tournament and has returned to his club to recover.
The winner of Brazil vs Italy will meet either Spain or France in the semi-final. France cruised past Australia 4-0, while Spain extinguished the African challenge by defeating debutants Senegal 2-1. For the Senegalese the tournament will have been a success and valuable experience for their players, but Africa will be disappointed to not have a representative among the last eight teams.
European champions the Netherlands sprang a surprise by defeating Nigeria 3-1. Sontje Hansen’s hat trick was enough to eliminate the West Africans. In the group stages the Nigerians had come from behind against both Hungary and Ecuador to win, but the Dutch controlled the second half and rode their luck when Nigeria did break the Orange defense. The Dutch will face Paraguay in the quarter-finals, who eliminated Argentina 3-2.
Angola, debutants at the finals as well, had been favourites going into their game with South Korea, but fell to a single goal from Choi Minseo just after the half-hour mark. Korea and Mexico complete the quarter-final line-up. The tournament culminates on November 17 with the final in Gama.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1597024955labto1597024955ofdlr1597024955owedi1597024955sni@o1597024955fni1597024955