France, Brazil clash in U-17 semis

France and host nation Brazil confidently claimed the last two semi-final slots at the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Monday, respectively eliminating Spain and Italy.

The two teams join the Netherlands and Mexico, who will lock horns in the first semi-final on Thursday.

The day began with an avalanche of goals, to the extent that Les Bleuets’ 6-1 win over Spain represented the greatest margin of victory in a U-17 World Cup quarter-final.

The French, who are now the highest-scoring team in the tournament with 17 goals, have only reached the last four once before, at Trinidad and Tobago 2001, and on that occasion, they were crowned champions.

In the evening match, a large crowd at the Estadio Olimpico in Goiania rejoiced as the hosts put in their best performance of the competition thus far.

Exhibiting strength and style, the Brazilians forced Marco Molla, the Italian goalkeeper who had conceded the fewest goals up to that point, to twice pick the ball out of the back of his net, and they will now feature in a semi-final for the ninth time.

Of the four teams left in the tournament, Brazil boasts the most tournament appearances. –

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