FIFA U-17 World Cup: Thriller in store as Spain meet Iran

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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Thriller in store as Spain meet Iran

Posted on : Saturday 21st of October 2017

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Kochi: European champions Spain take on Asian challengers Iran in what promises to be an engrossing quarterfinal of the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.

Spain, coached by Santi Denia, have shown real character after losing their Group D opener to Brazil. They blanked Niger 4-0 and outplayed North Korea 2-0 to enter the pre-quarterfinals where they edged out a formidable French side 2-1.

Iran have had a smooth run to the last-eight stage with an all-win record. Team Melli, under the guidance of Abbas Chamanian, have captured the attention of one and all with their aggressive game. Iran began their campaign with a 3-1 win over Guinea, before shocking Germany 4-0. They topped Group C with a facile 3-0 win over Costa Rica and then downed Mexico 2-1 to set up a quarterfinal clash with La Roja.

There is very little to choose between the two sides and the game could go down to the wire. Spain, who have played the 4-2-4 formation to good effect is likely to employ the same tactic against the Iranians.

Captain Abel Ruiz holds the key to their success. The Barcelona B forward delivered at the crunch by a scoring a last-gasp penalty against the French. Midfielder Ferran Torres too has been in fine form for the Spaniards.

Delfi's absence

Iran used the high ball to good effect against Mexico. However, the absence of Younez Delfi, who will miss the match after picking up a yellow card in the final moments of the Mexico game, is a big blow to them. Delfi has been at his creative best in the tournament and he will be sorely missed in the big game. Iran will hope that Delfi's strike partner Allahyar Sayyad, who himself has had a fine outing so far, rises to the challenge.

Spain know the conditions well having played all three of their group games in Kochi. The Spaniards appear to be peaking at the right time and the very fact that they have made it to the quarterfinals despite not being at their best should worry the Iranians. Irrespective of the result, the crowd will be hoping to witness a thrilling game as World Cup action comes to an end in Kochi.

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