FIFA U-17 World Cup: England, USA and a quarterfinal set to light up Goa
Time flies by so quickly, we are now just seven games away from seeing a team lifting the prestigious FIFA U-17 World Cup in Kolkata. The tournament has been nothing short of amazing so far. Over 130 goals scored in a span of 42 games since the tournament started. We have seen some brilliant performances from dark horses like Iran, Mali and Honduras as well as the usual performances from favourites like Brazil, Spain, Germany and more.
When Goa was announced as a venue for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India it was also announced later that nine games would take place in the state. Six group games, two Round of 16 games and one quarter-final. It now looks like Goa will host what promises to be the most spectacular of the quarter-final games on paper.
England won a hard-fought game against Japan who made an excellent effort on the pitch and managed to take the game to penalties but England's Curtis Anderson pulled off a save and Nya Kirby scored the winning penalty to help England progress. While the USA had a more comfortable progression with a thumping 5-0 win against Paraguay thanks to a hattrick from Timothy Weah and a goal each from their star players Josh Sargeant and Andrew Carleton.
This will come as great news not only for football fans but also Goan fans who will get an opportunity to watch red-hot England will take on the Dominant USA at the Fatorda Stadium on the 21st of October, Saturday at 8 pm and this is one game you absolutely cannot miss.
Let's have a quick look at the two teams, how they've done in the tournament and what to expect from the mouth-watering clash on Saturday:
England has been in great form, scoring a stunning 11 goals in three games during the Group stages and conceding only two. The runners-up of the U-17 European Championship are taking part in only their fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup Tournament and surprisingly, they have not got past the quarter-finals in any of their first attempts.
The Three Lions will bank on the experience and exposure their players have obtained from playing for different high-level Premier League clubs back home in England and look to progress to their first ever semi-final.
Players to watch out for
Phil Foden, George McEachran, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Angel Gomes and Rhian Brewster
• England have scored 63% of their goals (7/11) throughout the tournament in the second half of games.
• England have scored the joint-most number of goals from set pieces in the tournament along with Paraguay (three).
• Jadon Sancho has been England's top performer with three goals and two assists in three games but the winger, unfortunately, had to return back to Germany as he was recalled by his club Borussia Dortmund.
• Goalkeeper Curtis Anderson has the second-best save rate among the keepers from the final eight teams (80% save rate)
The USA were drawn in a tough group with Colombia, Ghana and of course hosts, India. But they didn't let the magnitude of the competition and reputation of their opponents bog them down. They are also one of the few teams in the world to have qualified for every single FIFA U-17 World Cup since its inception.
The stars and stripes, however, have never got past the quarterfinals except on one occasion in 1999 where the US team reached the semis bust lost out to Australia on penalties in the edition where arguably USA's greatest ever player, Landon Donovan was the star of the tournament.
The US team scored five goals in their group games but definitely took it up a notch in the Round of 16 game against Paraguay by scoring five goals, with this strong statement, the US team will look forward to progressing to their second only semi-final and maybe even go all the way.
Players to watch out for
Josh Sargeant, Timothy Weah, Andrew Carleton, Jamie Sands, Chris Durkins
• USA has scored the second highest number of goals from open play (nine) with Mali (13) being the only team scoring more than them in open play from the final eight teams.
• USA has a shot accuracy of 39.5% in the tournament, which is the highest percentage of on-target shots on goal among all the final 8 teams.
• Andrew Carleton is the joint highest assister (with Germany's Fiete-Arp) among the final 8 teams in the tournament (three assists)
• A few months prior to the U-17 WC, US forward and captain Josh Sargeant also played for his country at the U-20 World Cup, becoming the youngest US player to score at an U-20 World Cup. The forward has also announced that he will join Werder Bremen in Feb 2018.
The game looks to be a scintillating prospect and even more so being the last and final game that Goa will host the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017. It definitely looks like the perfect game for Goa to sign and it's evident with the way ticket sales are going, tickets are selling quickly with most of the stands already sold out while we have also received news that an additional 1400 seats that were reserved for other purposes have been released to the general public for booking.
Log on to https://india2017wc.kyazoonga.com/VenueMatch/Quarter-Final/120645 and book your tickets now!