2017 FIFA U-17 WC: Mali vs Spain semi-final, battle of former runners up (News Analysis by Vincent Obi, PANA Editor)

New Delhi, India (PANA) - African champions Mali go on parade again on Wednesday, against a much-more experienced Spain in one of the semi-finals of the ongoing 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup tournament in India.

Both teams will be chasing their first FIFA World Cup at this level but on paper, Spain looks the more successful of the two with three runners-up titles. That match will be played on Wednesday at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

While Mali is credited with emerging runner up in 2015, Spain had played the second fiddle thrice - 1991, 2003 and 2007, earning the bronze medal twice - 1997 and 2009.

The road to this stage, from the Round of 16, has been swift for both teams, with Spain winning 2-1 against the 2001 champions, France, before outlasting Iran 3-1 in the quarter-finals.

Mali hit Iraq 5-1 in the Round of 16, then jumped over fellow West Africans and two-time champions, Ghana, 2-1 in the quarter-finals. In the usual African fighting spirit, Mali should hold out until the final whistle and score when it matters most to prove that the overwhelming defeat of Iraq is not a fluke.

For Ghana, it was a disappointing run to their fine campaign at the youth level where they won in 1991 and 1995, finished runners up in 1993 and 1997, took the bronze medal in 1999 and finished fourth in 2007.

The following is the other semi-final fixture:

Brazil  v  England at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
-0- PANA VAO 25Oct2017

25 october 2017 04:55:39

xhtml CSS