After stretching it to the penalty shootouts against Japan in the Round of 16, England came back to show their domination and haul the USA U-17s.
England made one change to their team which defeated Japan in penalties, with captain Angel Gomes making way for Morgan Gibbs-White, while the USA made two changes with Taylor Booth getting his first start in the tournament and Chris Gloster making his way back into the team. Both teams looked to gain the early advantage but the Three Lions received the first chance of the game in the 4th minute when Tashan Oakley-Boothe received the ball outside the box and hit a powerful shot which was saved by Justin Garces.
England gained some confidence off that and Callum Hudson-Odoi wiggled past the USA defence a few minutes later, but his shot was heroically saved by Garces to keep the score at 0-0. England had the lead in the 11th minute when Phil Foden showed some good skill on the right and went past the left-back to hit a shot which was parried away by Garces, but fell on the path of Rhian Brewster to blast the ball into the top corner and give England the lead.
The Three Lions doubled the lead 3 minutes later when Foden again played play-maker by winning the ball in midfield and passing it to Brewster, who showed amazing pace to get past the USA defence and calmly chipped the ball above the charging Garces with an expert finish. The Lions were running riot, displaying some lovely football in the 15th minute and Brewster got an opportunity to complete his hattrick, but his shot was saved by Garces.
USA finally launched an attack in the 20th minute when Andrew Carleton made a decent pass to Tim Weah, who tricked the English defenders but couldn’t keep his shot on target despite rooting the defenders. They threatened again, two minutes later, when USA attacked through the right and the ball found its way into the path of Ayo Akinola, who should’ve done better with his shot which deflected to a corner.
USA almost capitalized on the set-piece, but Josh Sargent’s header struck the bar and was cleared on the line as USA kept creeping closer to finding a goal.
The Americans received another chance in the 24th minute when Carleton fed the ball to the path of Akinola to take a wheezing shot which was saved well by Curtis Anderson. Brewster received another chance at completing his hattrick in the 30th minute when he got the ball inside the box with a clear shot on goal, but shockingly hit it wide off the mark.
USA midfielder Blaine Ferri almost pegged one back for his team three minutes later, showing off some skill to trick England’s midfielder and hitting a stunning shot which was a whisker away from the goal.
England almost made it three in the 37th minute when they a promising free-kick by Brewster found the head of Jonathan Panzo, but was saved by Garces. Taylor Booth showed some impressive movement a few minutes later for USA and beat Panzo on the left, before hitting a powerful shot which was saved by Anderson. The USA came close again a minute later when a corner found Sargent, whose header went just over the bar as the teams couldn’t create anything more before the break.
England started the second half on the attack as Morgan Gibbs-White snuck into the box and found the ball, but his shot was cleared just off the line by the USA defence. England almost scored one more in the 54th minute when a corner was met by the head of Joel Latibeaudiere but it hit the post before being parried out by Garces. But England finally got their 3rd goal in the 63rd minute after some brilliant movement by Gibbs-White to convert the cross of Brewster superbly to give England one foot into the semi-finals.
USA showed some resilience and gave themselves a glimmer of hope when conjured up a great move in the 72nd minute and Sergino Dest hit a thunderous shot from the right side of the box which was saved by Anderson, but fell to Sargent’s path and USA’s captain gave his team some life with that goal.
The Americans kept on pegging ahead for the goal and were caught out in extra time when Brewster was clear of goal, before being fouled inside the box by Dest who was sent off for it. The striker completed his hattrick with the penalty as the Lions convincingly booked their place in the semi-finals and are looking more and more likely to go all the way to lifting the cup.
GHANA vs MALI (REPORT BY FIFA)
Mali held on to defeat Ghana 2-1 and reach the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 on Saturday. The result follows victory over their West African rivals in this year’s CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations final and moves them into a last-four meeting with either Iran or Spain in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday.
In very wet weather at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, both sides did well to play through the conditions, with Mali dominating to opening half. The Eaglets took the lead on the quarter-hour mark, as Hadji Drame broke in on the Ghanaian goal before putting his shot past Black Starlets goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim for his third goal of the tournament.
Full Highlights: Mali 2-1 Ghana
Ghana then had the ball in the opposite net just before half-time, however, Ibrahim Sulley’s effort was disallowed for a foul by team-mate Kudus Mohammed in the build-up.
Just after the hour mark, Mali scored their winner through Djemoussa Traore. He beat the back-tracking Danlad Ibrahim with a long-range effort after the Ghana goalkeeper misjudged his rush off his goalline to make an attempted clearance outside his box.
With 20 minutes to go, Ghana halved the deficit through a Mohammed penalty after substitute Sadiq Ibrahim was fouled in the Mali box but, in the end, the Eaglets held on to secure a second appearance in the last four at a U-17 World Cup in as many tournaments. Their only disappointment is a suspension to Mali captain Mohamed Camara for the semi-finals through the accumulation of yellow cards.