Argentina, Germany, France and Mali qualify for U-17 World Cup semi-finals

November 27 – Argentina eliminated defending champions Brazil from the U-17 World Cup with a thumping 3-0 win. Germany, France and Mali complete the semi-final lineup. 

A hat-trick by Claudio Echeverri propelled the Argentinians to a convincing win against their neighbours and South American rivals, a first victory against Brazil in this age group at the World Cup. They dominated from the start and even Brazil coach Phelipe Leal admitted afterwards that Argentina had merited victory but he emphasised that Brazil’s future looks bright.

Argentina have never won the U-17 World Cup and by playing Germany in the semi-finals they meet another team that has never triumphed at the U-17 level.

The Germans overcame Spain 1-0 to book their spot in the last four. Borussia Dortmund youngster Paris Brunner converted from the penalty spot in the second half to score the only goal of the game.

On the other side of the draw, France will meet Mali in the semi-finals. The French remain the only side in the competition that has won the tournament in the past.

The Europeans edged past Uzbekistan 1-0 with a late strike from Ismail Bouneb to maintain a fifth clean sheet in the tournament. It was hardly a convincing win with the Uzbeks coming close to scoring twice from headers inside the box, but their opponents have a trademark for scoring late goals.

Above all, the French have not conceded a single goal in the tournament, which means Mali will have to be at their very best to prevent the French from reaching the final.

In an all-African quarterfinal, Mali eliminated Morocco 1-0. It was revenge for their defeat in the last four of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

The semi-finals of the U-17 World Cup will be played on Tuesday. The tournament in Indonesia will draw to a close with the final on Saturday 2 December in the capital Jakarta.

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