Iran blank Costa Rica to finish top of group

U-17 FIFA World Cup 2017 India New Delhi Goa

Iran made it through to the Round of 16 of the U17 World Cup with a hundred per cent record after beating Costa Rica 3-0 in their last Group C game at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Goa, on Friday evening. Iran's early running, keynote of their huge win over Germany, kept goalkeeper Ricardo Montenegro busy but a goal arrived only after Amferny Arias, acting captain in place of the benched Jose Alfaro, brought down Delfi.

Esmaeilzadeh injured his shoulder towards the end of the first half and was replaced by Majid Nasiri, who was right on the ball from the word go and didn't allow the Costa Rican forwards much of space. "We were very poor in that game, and the reaction back home wasn't good".

They finished the group proceedings with three wins in as many matches, scoring 10 goals and conceding just one. "This was a very tough game for my team", said a very relieved Wuck.

Guinea - a powder keg of superb individual ability married with inexcusable errors at clutch points in their first two games - promised to be an unpredictable team to face, though Thursday's results in Group B had meant Germany basically had to avoid defeat, and even if they had lost, they would have been assured of qualification for the round of 16 unless Costa Rica pulled off a win against table-toppers Iran in Goa. They have topped the group with the full nine points from three matches.

The problem for Costa Rica is that they are playing against Iran - a team that has surpassed and shocked most in Goa. However coach Souleymane Camara feels the experience will bear fruit in six years' time, when the Africans will host the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time.

Germany now meet Colombia in New Delhi on October 16, and will get one day less to rest for that match than their opponents. "Our defence has done a good job till now and we hope they will continue to do the same in the play-offs as well", said Chamanian.

"We played against a very strong and physical team tonight".

"We should not get carried away with the victory against the Germans and instead focus on Costa Rica who always look risky in front of the goal with their skillful play", he added. In the first half we made a few mistakes and we conceded two penalties which was a big disadvantage. The German coach hailed the pitch at Kochi and said the "pitch could be compared to European standards, and the players were able to play better here". But I think my players are very strong and very fast.

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