Farewell to Dreamy U-17 World Cup

Although Iran failed to reach the semifinals, the young Iranians proved their mettle and heralded a bright future for Iran’s football
Spain dominated the proceedings right from the kickoff.Spain dominated the proceedings right from the kickoff.

Iran’s gallant run in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India came to a halt after the young players fell 3-1 to European champions Spain in the quarterfinal match at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi on Sunday.

According to, Spain, one of the pre-tournament favorites, completely dominated the quarterfinal match as their one-touch passing game proved to be too good for the Asian giants, who were completely outplayed on the day.

Captain Abel Ruiz gave Spain the lead in the 13th minute before Sergio Gomez (60th) and Ferran Torres (67th) added a goal each.

For Iran, Saeid Karimi managed to pull one back in the 69th minute.

 Spain will meet African champions Mali in Navi Mumbai in the semifinals on October 25.

This will be Spain’s sixth appearance in the semifinals in ninth attempt. Spain was runners-up in 1991, 2003 and 2007 and finished third in 1997 and 2009.

Spain was the overwhelmingly dominant side during the match against Iran with nearly 70% possession.

  Busy Goalkeeper

But for some fine saves by the goalkeeper Ali Gholamzadeh, Iran would have lost by a bigger margin. Gholamzadeh was busy all day as Spain made waves of attacks through their fast- paced passing football.

Valencia youth team winger Ferran Torres, who has been on the radar of Barcelona and Real Madrid, created a lot of problems for Iran throughout the match with his speedy runs and crosses from the right flank.

It was a completely different and unusually defensive Iran today, as the Asian team did not look like a side that had not lost any match during the competition.

The young Iranians sorely missed suspended striker Younes Delfi who had scored twice in Iran’s shock upset of formidable Germany in the group stage.

Spain, which had several players from the world famous academies of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, would build their attacks through their flowing passing and the Iranians could not even touch the ball for long spells.

The game was attended by a capacity 29,000 spectators, highest at the venue for any match.

Prior to facing Spain in the quarterfinals, Iran had won all its previous four matches scoring 12 goals and conceding only two, emerging as the tournament’s dark horse. Beating world powers like Germany and Mexico, the team’s coaching staff as well as many others expected Iran to reach the finals.

Although this did not happen, the young Iranians proved their mettle and heralded a bright future for Iran’s football.


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