AGENCIES FATORDA/GUWAHATI, 22nd Oct: Rhian Brewster scored a hattrick as England thrashed USA 4-1 to enter their maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup semi-final on Saturday.
Brewster scored in the 11th, 14th and 90+6th minutes from a penalty while Morgan Gibbs White scored in 64th minute to hand England the convincing win.
Wasting a handful of chances, USA managed to score a consolation goal in the 72nd minute through Joshua Sargent.
USA had the first shot at the goal in the second minute when Andrew Carleton’s right footer from outside the box just missed the right corner of the England goal. Two minutes later, Tashan Oakley-Boothe’s right footed shot from outside the box was saved in the centre of the goal by the American defence.
Timothy Weah’s right-footer then missed the target by a whisker as USA continued to flounder chances.
England took the lead in the 11th minute through Brewster whose right-footed shot from the centre of the box slammed on to the top right corner of the American goal. Three minutes later Brewster scored his second goal with a brilliant scoop from the right side, past an onrushing American goalkeeper to make the scoreline 2-0.
Brewster could have had his hattrick earlier had American goalkeeper Justin Garces not saved the English striker’s left-footed shot from the left side of the box. USA’s Joshua Sargent then hit the bar with a right footed shot in the 23rd minute.
England however took the game away from USA in the 64th minute when Morgan Gibbs-White scored with a right-footer to the bottom right corner of the American goal after being assisted by Brewster.
Despite enjoying a handy 3-0 lead, the Englishmen continued to attack, only to be foiled by a resolute Garces in front of the American goal.
Sargent reduced the margin for the Americans in the 72nd minute with a right-footed shot from close range to the bottom left corner of the English goal.
Brewster finally got his due when he converted a spot-kick in additional time to register his hattrick and a convincing victory for his side.
Mali upstaged Ghana 2-1 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on a rainy Saturday evening to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. It was Mali’s second win over their West African rivals after the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations final six months ago.
Mali had reached the final of the 2015 edition but were outclassed by Nigeria 2-0, who had won the 2013 Cup too by beating Mexico 3-0.
Forward Hadji Drame drew first blood for Mali in the 15th minute with a solo run from the right flank after a pass from midfielder Djemoussa Traore. Mali came close to scoring at least twice before the break.
Mali went 2-0 up 16 minutes after the breather when Traore cashed in on a defensive error by Ghana goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim.
But more than Ibrahim, midfielder Kudus Mohammed would perhaps rue pushing an opponent in the Mali box a fraction of a second before Sulley scored what would have been Ghana’s equaliser.
Algerian referee Mehdi Abid Charef spotted the foul to disallow the goal.
Mohammed made amends by converting a 72nd minute penalty after Mali defender Fode Konate brought down Ghana substitute Sadiq Ibrahim in the box.
But his first-half misadventure and Ibrahim’s ‘brain fade’ moment in the second half were not what their coach Samuel Kwasi Fabin would have prescribed against a faster, more dominant Mali, who had denied Ghana their third U-17 African Cup of Nations title six months ago in Gabon.