FIFA U17 World Cup: Spain 3-1 Mali, 5 Talking Points
Spain are through to the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup courtesy of a hard-fought 3-1 win over Mali. The battle between the African and the European champions turned out to be an enticing one with Spain rushing into a 2-0 lead at halftime despite Mali leading the charge in the attack.
Abel Ruiz scored a first-half brace whereas Ferran Torres trebled the lead with a header in the second interval. Ghana lessened the deficit through Lassana N'Diaye but could not mount a late comeback to reach a second consecutive FIFA U17 World Cup final. On that note, let's take a look at the 5 talking points from the second semifinal which had some feisty action along with the biggest controversy of the tournament:
#1 Abel Ruiz's excellent first-half display
Mali were dominating at times in the first half reducing Spain to possession without incision. But a change in tactics for La Roja meant Spain were suddenly looking to play on the counter and voila, it paid huge dividends. Chances began to flow courtesy of which Spain scored two, both by their captain - Abel Ruiz.
With this brace, Ruiz took his tally to six in the tournament. Just one shy of the current golden boot holder, Rhian Brewster. Mali opted a high line which meant that Ruiz played on the shoulders of the last defender to drag him wide and get the best of the wide spaces. His first was from a spot kick while the second was a side-footed finish into the bottom corner. Ruiz has been leading this Spain U17 side from the front with his goalscoring antics and in the semifinal, he produced a highly clinical performance.