England and Spain face off Saturday in FIFA U-17 World Cup title match
- A new U-17 world champion will be crowned in India
- England-Spain: a repeat of the UEFA U-17 EURO final
- Brewster, N’Diaye and Ruiz in the running for the adidas Golden Boot
- Live Broadcast: (10:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 2)
(Via FIFA) – And so there were two. From the 24 teams that traveled to India in search of World Cup glory, only England and Spain still have a chance of making their dreams come true.
After three weeks of intense competition, the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 will be an all-European affair. History beckons for one of the sides, neither of which have previously secured a world title at this level. Furthermore, both teams will be looking to confirm their status as Europe’s top side, with England seeking revenge for their defeat to Spain in the final of the UEFA U-17 European Championship earlier in the year.
As an appetizer to the main event, losing semi-finalists Brazil and Mali meet in the play-off for third-place, with both teams fighting to end the tournament on a positive note and return home with the bronze medal.
What you need to know
1. Advantage Spain. Spain and England have now met three times in the final of the UEFA U-17 European Championship. La Rojita were triumphant in 2007, before the Three Lionstook their revenge three years later. The Spaniards once more emerged victorious in May, but only after a nail-biting climax. Twice England went ahead and surrendered their advantage, with Spain’s second equaliser coming in the sixth minute of stoppage time. La Rojita went on to win on penalties.
2. Where are they now? Spain’s hero that day was Nacho Diaz, who came off the bench to grab the equalising goal with the last kick of the game. Despite those heroics, he has not featured in the starting XI in India, having registered only two substitute appearances and no goals thus far. For the England team, both Rhian Brewster and Joel Latibeaudiere missed their kicks in the penalty shootout. The former is currently the tournament’s leading marksman, having scored back-to-back hat-tricks against USA and Brazil, while captain Latibeaudiere has barely put a foot wrong at centre-half.
3. Bronze medal and Golden Boot. The third-place match promises much in the way of entertainment, as it brings together two of the tournament’s most spectacular and attacking teams. With the bronze medal up for grabs, as well as the chance to overcome the disappointment of the semi-finals and leave India on a high, neither team will be lacking motivation. But there is even more at stake for Mali’s Lassana N’Diaye, who could still win the adidas Golden Boot, awarded to the tournament’s top goal scorer. He currently stands on six goals, one below Brewster. The Englishman will have his own opportunity to add to his tally in the final, as will Spaniard Abel Ruiz, who also has six goals to his name.
Stat of the day
170 – The number of goals scored up until now at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. The tournament in India is already the second highest-scoring U-17 World Cup in history, having overtaken the 167 strikes registered at Korea Republic 2007. With two games still to be played, there is every chance that the all-time record of 172 goals, set at the tournament in the United Arab Emirates in 2013, will be broken in India.
“We want to play with purpose, dominate possession, play forward and get the ball back as quick as we can. That’s always our plan, we will never change our style or way. Whoever we play, we can be a match and play better than the opposition. We have to work hard for that.”
England coach Steve Cooper