England blank Iraq 4-0, set up pre-quarters clash vs Japan
By Tapan Mohanta
Kolkata, Oct 14 (PTI) England colts continued their domination crushing Iraq 4-0 in their final group F league encounter to set up a pre-quarterfinal date with Japan in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, here tonight.
Having won all their three matches, the Young Lions topped group F with nine points while the Lions of Mesopotamia in their second World Cup appearance also qualified for the last-16 by finishing second with four points.
Iraq will lock horns against Mali in their first ever U- 17 World cup pre-quarterfinal appearance in Goa on October 17 while England and Japan will square off in Kolkata.
Having held to a goalless draw by Chile in Guwahati, two-time champions Mexico finished third with two points, while Chile made exit with a single point.
Starting for the first time and with the captain's arm- band, Manchester United junior Angel Gomes put the team ahead in the 11th minute while Arsenal graduate Emile Smith-Rowe doubled the lead (59th) on his World Cup debut in front of a 56,373 turnout at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Having missed Mohammed Dawood flair all through the first half, Iraq finally brought on their leading scorer in the 47th minute but it hardly helped their cause as England sealed the issue with Daniel Loader (59th and 71st) scoring twice in a space of 12 minutes.
A minute after his inclusion, Dawood had a crack at the goal but his right-footed attempt from the centre of the box went too high.
To add to their woes, England toyed with the Iraq defence as the Arsenal attacking midfielder, Rowe, opened his account with Gomes setting him up with a clinical through ball.
In a space of two minutes, Loader fired in from the centre of the box after being nicely set up by Steven Sessegnon.
The Fulham defender also helped Loader complete the brace as the Reading youngster sent the ball crashing into the bottom left corner with a powerful rightfooter.
There was more misery in store as the Iraq star player Dawood was shown a yellow card in the 62nd minute as the Asian champions will miss him in their next match because of a double booking.
Leading from the front, the Manchester United prodigy put the Young Lions ahead in the 11th minute from a very close range after Daniel Loader failed to capitalise a Nya Kirby cross.
Both teams started off with a 4-5-1 formation and in surprising move Iraq coach Qahtan Chitheer opted to bench their leading goalscorer Dawood, a move that seemed to have backfired.
Iraq missed Dawood up front as they failed to finish in a number of attacks and should give credit to their goalkeeper Ali Ibadi to thwart Jadon Sancho's 25th minute penalty