Spain deny Mali another World Cup final

Spain deny Mali another World Cup final

He might be one of the brightest youngsters in worldwide football but Spanish striker and skipper Abel Ruiz is not thinking too far ahead and said now he just wants to focus on the final against England in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.“I am concentrating now only on the final game against England and not on anything else, ” said the FC Barcelona junior player after scoring a brace in Spains dominant 3-1 semifinal victory over African U-17 champions Mali here last night.

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. The match is nicely poised as the battle between football's two big virtues: Mali's relentless attack and Spain's resilience.

With the victory, England progress to the U-17 World Cup final for the first time in their history, where they will meet a side with plenty of pedigree in the form of three-time runners-up Spain. Spain also finished third in 1997 and 2009.

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The Africans came charging and threatened from some wing plays. With Mali likely to keep Spain with their backs against the wall, Torres' deft touches, twists and turns, and directness can be pivotal. His volley was spectacularly saved by 'keeper Youssouf Koita. A two goal lead at half time meant Mali had to do a lot of work. 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. The best of those chances fell to Ruiz in the 33rd minute when his attempt beat the Mali custodian before missing the target by mere inches. Spain added a third with 20 minutes to play through Ferran Torres. They have scored all kinds of goals at this World Cup and their domination of Ghana in the quarterfinals showed that it will take a quality performance to stop another West African onslaught.

N'Diaye reduced the margin for Mali soon after when he neatly received a cross, saw off a Spanish defender before calmly beating the goalkeeper.

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