England and Mali booked their places in last eight of the FIFA U17 World Cup in India. England won in penalties against Japan after a goalless ninety minutes while Mali thumped Iraq 5-1 in the two matches.
A jubilant England side after their win over Japan
England took on Japan at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata and it promised to be a classic encounter. The enthusiastic Kolkata crowd witnessed a thriller as both the teams gave their everything. England were without their star man Jadon Sancho while the Asian side fielded the strongest team. The match was goalless after the regulation time, and as no extra time is present in the U17 World Cup, it went straight to the penalties. English players converted all the penalties but for Japan, Kida missed one which proved to be decisive as the European side won 5-3 on penalties.
Kirby after successfully scoring the winning penalty
In the other match, a superior Mali side absolutely destroyed Iraq 5-1 and stamped their authority in the tournament. Being one of the favorites, Mali started the campaign with a loss against Paraguay. But after that wins over New Zealand and Turkey ensured their place in the last 16 and now a thumping victory has indicated that they have arrived. The match was more of a one way traffic in Goa as the African side took the lead after25 minutes as Drame scored.
N’Diaye scored another before half time and defender Konate scored 17 minutes from time to put the result beyond doubt. Iraq got a goal back through Ali Kareem but Mali colts scored twice in the dying minutes to complete the rout. The Iraqis missed their star man Dawood and couldn’t emulate what their neighbors Iran did a few hours ago.
Mali’s Drame is boot kissed by his teammate
England will face another high fliers USA in the Quarter finals on 21st October in Margao, Goa while Mali will wait for their opponents as it will be either Ghana or Niger, hence it promises to be an all African quarter final in Guwahati.