FIFA U17 World Cup 2017

FIFA U17 World Cup : Spain thrash Iran 3-1 to seal the semi-final berth

[caption id="attachment_56789" align="aligncenter" width="580"]22552298_1444932065601890_8939064081030713102_n Spain thrash Iran 3-1 to reach the semis. Image Source: FIFA[/caption]

Internet Desk: European champions Spain showed their class again with an exhibition of tiki-taka football as they thrashed Iran 3-1 to make it to the semi-finals of the FIFA U17 World Cup on Sunday.

Spain, who has been regarded as the favourites to win the tournament. They did so by dominating the quarter-final as their tiki-taka football proved too much for the Asian giants.

Captain Abel Ruiz gave Spain the lead in the 13th minute before Sergio Gomez(60th) and Ferran Torres (67th) added a goal each.

For Iran, Saeid Karimi pulled one back in the 69th minute at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium. Spain, seeking their maiden title, now meet African champions Mali in Navi Mumbai in the second semi-finals on October 25.

This will be Spain's sixth appearance in the semi-finals in ninth attempt. The La Rojita were runners-up in 1991, 2003 and 2007 and finished third in 1997 and 2009.

It was a completely different and unusually defensive Iran today as they did not look like a side, who had not lost any match before Sunday.

They sorely missed suspended striker Younes Delfi who had scored twice in Iran shock upset of formidable Germany in the group stage.

The first Spain chance came in the 11th minute but Mateu Morey's right footed shot from outside the box just missed the near post.

Two minutes later, Spain took the lead through Ruiz who scored his fourth goal of the tournament. The goal came after 26 passes were completed by Spanish players before Ferran Torres got the possession of the ball.

Torres got the better of his marker in the right flank and sent a long cross for Sergio Gomez who, in turn, gave a square pass to Ruiz at the center of the Iran box.

Barcelona youth team striker Ruiz's first shot hit a defender built from the rebound he made no mistake with his right footer finding the left side of the Iran net with a diving goalkeeper unable to reach the ball.

This was Ruiz's 24th goal in 28th appearances for the Spain U-17 side. He is currently on the radar of top English Premier League sides.

Spain had two fine chances to increase the lead but Iran goalkeeper Ali Gholam Zadeh kept the scoreline 1-0 with two fine saves, one in the 19th minute and then in the 34th.

A flowing start to the second half saw Spain push for a second goal. At the hour mark, another Barcelona youth team player Sergio Gomez took the game out of Iran's reach with a spectacular strike from well outside the box that hit the underside of the crossbar and went into the net.

Iran pressed forward in search of a goal and that left spaces behind for Spain to make further inroads. In one such flowing move, Mohamad Moukhliss delivered an inch-perfect low cross from the right which Torres simply tapped in to make it 3-0 in the 67th minute.

Iran did get their goal two minutes later when a long ball from defence met the head of Allahyar Sayyad whose diagonal flick found Saeid Karimi who nodded home.

The game was attended by a capacity 29,000 spectators - highest at the venue for any match.

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