Spain deny Mali another World Cup final

Spain celebrating a goal. | EPS

But Mali held strong and peppered Spain's goal with long-range attempts and one such attempt will go on to change the dynamics of the game. By virtue of this win, Spain have entered the final of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup for the fourth time after their first appearance in the title clash in 2007.

England celebrated their first ever entry into the U-17 World Cup final and people back home were mightily impressed.

Abel Ruiz scored a brace and a Ferran Torres goal saw the European champions beating Mali at Navi Mumbai in the semi-final.

In what was touted to be a battle between Spain's finesse and Mali's force, the Europeans swept aside their Malian opponents with classy counter-attacking football. Mali, who had reached the final of the previous edition in 2015, matched their rivals move for move for the most part and it was only the superb finishing ability of Spain centre-forward Ruiz that was the major difference between the two teams.

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Spain's run in the tournament has been a dominant one so far, and bar a 2-1 loss to Brazil, they have won all their games in the tournament.

César Gelabert was the creator of Spain's first two goals. Spain were awarded a penalty when a mistake by the Mali defence saw an unmarked Cesar Gelabert storm into the penalty box before being brought down by Abdoulaye Diaby.

Spain was happy to soak Mali's pressure and in the 33rd minute nearly doubled its tally on the counter when Ruiz's side-footed finish, capping off a slick move from the left flank, missed the right-hand post by a whisker. Torres added to the Africans' woes when he headed down across from Gomez to score Spain's third goal.

Just three minutes post, the Malians bounced back as their leading goal-scorer Lassana N'Diaye released a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the goal. Spain were also crowned champions of Europe, winning the UEFA U-17 Euros in order to qualify for the tournament.

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