Federation Internationale de Football Association U-17 WC: Ruiz brace sets up all-European final

Spain's Abel Ruiz

Saeid Karim scored one for Iran in the 69th minute but it was not enough. The Liverpool player had also scored a hat-trick in England's 4-1 win over the United States in the quarter-final, and now leads the scorers' list with seven goals.

And with Toresscoverting late into the game, N'Diaye's goal in the 74th minute turned out to be just a consolation for Mali.

Mali fought back after falling into arrears as they made repeated raids on the rival area but some good defending by Spain and some wayward shot-making by the African champions denied them the equaliser. Down 0-2, Cheick Doucoure's 61st minute screamer from outside the box hit the crossbar, bounced inside the goal and came out. Then came the opening goal of the match when Gelabert was brought down, as he moved into the box, by Mali defender Abdoulaye Diaby. Five minutes later, Ferran Torres's header sealed their fate as Spain led 3-0. "Of course, we want to win the trophy for the first time, but we know the challenges ahead", Spain coach Santi Denia said on match eve yesterday.

Spain doubled their lead shortly before the break when Ruiz latched on to a defence splitting pass from Gomez and found the target with a first time attempt. A Seleção could not keep the Three Lions out, however, and will now compete for a bronze medal in Saturday's match for third place. "We had to go direct at times and use Abel Ruiz by playing him on the shoulder of their last defender." .

Spain made their intentions to score very early after the 8pm kick-off when in the second minute, a Ruiz cross from the right flank and the left-footer by Sergio Gomez was saved by Mali goalkeeper Youssouf Koita.

Gelabert played Ruiz through with a fine ball and Ruiz duly side-footed it into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 at the cusp of half-time. Ruiz stroked the ball down the middle as 'keeper dived to his left. Even as play continued the Mali bench rose as a whole to protest and after continuous shouting caught the attention of referee Ryuji Sato of Japan who, after remonstrating with the Mali bench, showed the yellow card to one of the support staff members for repeated back-chatting.

Meanwhile, Santiago Denia - the Spain boss - recommended Federation Internationale de Football Association not to show replays of the incident happened on the big screen. However, due to the lack of the technology, Mali were robbed of a well-deserved goal.

Steve Cooper's youngsters now have a magnificent opportunity to write their name into the history books by becoming the first England team to lift the Under-17 World Cup.

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