Brazil, Iran reach Round 16 as Spain flex muscles

AGENCIES FATORDA, 10th Oct: Iran booked their place in the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 with a convincing 4-0 victory over Germany in Goa on Tuesday evening.

The Group C match-up belonged to Team Melli, who dominated a German side that looked out of sorts during the opening 45 minutes. Younes Delfi opened the scoring for Iran on six minutes before striking the crossbar with an audacious free-kick effort on 15 minutes.

If it was not for Germany goalkeeper Luca Plogmann making several important saves, Iran may have been out of sight before half-time at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, as Delfi and Allayahr Sayyad caused the European side numerous problems.

The Iranians would not be denied a second goal, and it was Delfi that converted a free-kick in the Germany six-yard box for a deserved two-goal lead on 42 minutes.

Any hopes that Germany had of a comeback were ended four minutes after the break, as Sayyad’s diving header to Delfi’s excellent cross put the Asian outfit three goals to the good. Substitute Vahid Namdari then finished off a fine counter-attacking move with a quarter of an hour remaining to complete an emphatic result for Iran.

Goals from Lincoln and Paulinho lifted Brazil to a 2-0 victory over Korea DPR in Group D, a result that sees them secure a spot in the Round of 16 as at least one of the best third-place teams. As it stands after two matchdays, they lead Group D with six points, three ahead of both Spain and Niger.

The Brazilians were relatively frustrated by the Asians in their attacking ambitions, although they had their first clear chance as early as the first minute when Korea DPR goalkeeper Sin Tae-Song brilliantly denied Lincoln in a one-on-one situation.

The underdog Koreans settled into a defensive game plan after that and largely succeeded in keeping the game at a static pace in the first half. In the second period, Brazil started to come alive and it was Lincoln who was there to capitalise with a header from a deflected free-kick after Sin rushed out of his goal.

Just after the hour mark, Paulinho doubled the score after running on to a penetrating through ball and finishing with a slick touch to beat the stranded Sin. Brazil goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao made sure the score stayed the same in the final minutes, denying a good attempt from Kim Pom-Hyok.

After an opening loss to Brazil, Spain and starlet striker Abel Ruiz came to life against Niger in a 4-0 victory. The win moves La Rojita to three points alongside the Africans, who beat Korea DPR in their opener, with the European champions ahead on goal difference.

Although Spain took some time to settle into the match, they opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Ruiz took advantage of a ball-watching Niger defence to finish simply in front of goal. The Barcelona youngster might have added another shortly after when he sprung free from a nicely worked free-kick, but he lifted his effort over from close range.

Ruiz’s double was completed soon after, however, with good movement off the ball and a quick reaction after his first shot was cut out from a corner kick in the 41st minute. Before the break, the Spaniards moved even further ahead after a free flowing team move found Sergio Gomez loose on the left wing, and a flying Cesar Gelabert volleyed his cross into the roof of the net.

The second half almost entirely belonged to Spain, and they added their fourth through Gomez in the dying minutes. The scoreline could have been even more lopsided, if not for the acrobatics of Niger goalkeeper Khaled Lawali.

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