FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: Spain reach quarters after making France pay price for switching off in dying minutes

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A disjointed Spain who really looked like the away side in the first half donning their all-white kit made serious amends in the second and entered the quarter-finals by beating France, who were playing their fourth consecutive match of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Guwahati.Nothing was served on a silver platter and Spain had to toil hard before they eventually got the gift of a penalty late into regulation time which FC Barcelona wonderkid Abel Ruiz converted from 12 yards.In contrast, Santiago Denia stuck with the same eleven for the third game on the trot — a testament to the fitness levels maintained by the team despite their arduous travel of four hours from Kochi hardly 48 hours earlier.France, the home side having set up camp in the city since 3rd October, were beginning to show their true colours as they were painting the grass blue.It looked like a basketball game as inside the opening quarter of an hour the ball hardly remained stationed in one half and there were constant forays from each team into the opposition box.Familiarity with conditions played a part for Les Bleuets as Spain looked a bit drained out.Ruiz’s weak first time shot right into the ‘keeper’s hands after some quick passes down the flank just defined Spain’s first thirty minutes—lot of promise but no cutting-edge precision in the final third.The game looked to be slipping away from Spain after Lenny Pintor scored, showcasing some neat footwork.

  

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