THE DAY REPLAYED – Germany, Mexico and Ecuador got their FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 campaigns off to a fine start on Sunday, while Mali had to settle for a draw despite dominating their opening match.
Germany, one of the favourites for the title, started off in rip-roaring fashion, seeing off Group C opponents Australia 4-1. Having swiftly built up a 3-0 lead, the Europeans practically had the match sewn up by half-time, after which they managed the second period with maturity and confidence.
It was a slightly different story for Mexico, who overcame the not insignificant challenge of Argentina with an early strike and a late penalty, picking up three important points from opponents who were unable to make the most of their chances and now have very little margin for error.
Belgium 0-0 Mali
Australia 1-4 Germany
Honduras 1-3 Ecuador
Mexico 2-0 Argentina
Goal of the day
Honduras 0-1 Ecuador, Yeison Guerrero (7)
Skill and determination were the qualities demonstrated by Yeison Guerrero as he notched Ecuador’s first goal of Chile 2015. The talented No10 picked up the ball in the middle of the Honduras half, skipped past two opposing players and unleashed an unstoppable long-range shot into the top corner of Henry Mashburn’s net.
Winning isn’t everything
While Mali more than merited a win over Belgium, their inability to finish deprived them of three points. However, that setback did not prevent the enthusiastic fans at the Estadio Fiscal in Talca from recognising the quality of Les Aiglonnets’ play, cheering the Africans to the rafters at the end of both halves. Whether this heart-warming show of support will have helped the Malians to come to terms with the loss of two valuable points is a question only they can answer.
German goal machines
The various German teams that have appeared at the U-17 World Cup over the years have generally been a safe bet for goals. After finding the net against Australia, they have now gone an impressive 19 matches without failing to score at the tournament. Remarkably, that is not the longest streak of its type, with Ghana holding the record (21 games).
By awarding a second-half penalty to Mexico in their clash with Argentina, Dutch referee Danny Makkelie brought to an end a run of 45 U-17 World Cup matches without a spot kick being whistled in El Tri’s favour. In fact, the Latin American side had not received a penalty since the inaugural contest at China 1985, when Elias Ledesma scored from the spot in a 3-1 group-stage win over Qatar.
26 – The number of shots produced by Mali on Sunday, equating to one every 3.46 minutes. However, only six of those were actually on target. It remains an eye-opening figure, especially when contrasted with Belgium’s paltry tally of two, neither of which ended up on target.
“To be honest, a draw is not really the right result. Mali were stronger and played fantastic, beautiful football. Our approach is usually to keep possession of the ball, but today our opponents were too strong in that area. For that reason, I must admit I’m satisfied with a point,” Bob Browaeys, Belgium coach.
Monday 19 October
South Africa-Costa Rica (Group E)
New Zealand-France (Group F)
Korea DPR-Russia (Group E)
Syria-Paraguay (Group F)