Mali out to claim third place at U-17 World Cup

Mali out to claim third place at U-17 World Cup
Mohamed Camara (L) and Abdulaye Diaby (2-R) of Mali during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 18:30

Mali will look to claim the bronze medals at the U-17 World Cup when they face Brazil in the third-place playoff match, set for the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

The Young Eagles suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of Spain in their semifinal in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday. While the Europeans were deserved winners, Mali could still feel aggrieved at missing out on a legitimate goal from Cheick Doucoure.

The midfielder’s long-range strike would have stood had goal line technology been deployed at the tournament, and it could have turned the game in the Africans’ favour.

Coach Jonas Komla, to his credit, did not use the incident as an excuse for his team’s defeat, acknowledging that Spain were worthy winners. He has turned his attention to helping his team at least claim the honour of third place.

"I can't comment on the referee's decision. This is how football is. Maybe that goal could have changed things for us, since we played better in the second half, but Spain deserved the win,” explained Komla.

"In the second half we played well and tried to use our pace in the final 15 minutes but that's football for you.

"We are among the top four teams in the world (in this age group) so I can't be disappointed with the tournament. I am happy with how we performed at the World Cup.

"It has been a great experience playing in India and we still have the third-place game against Brazil. We would like to win that.”

Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu was similarly gracious in defeat after watching team suffer a 3-1 loss to England in the other semifinal on Wednesday. Rhian Brewster’s hat-trick put paid to his team’s hopes of winning a third U-17 World Cup title.

"They were effective. They created opportunities and scored. England deserved to win. We played well in the first half but couldn't score," said Amadeu.

He added, “I am sad because we would have liked to win. But this happens. We must look into the future. We have one more match to play.

“As a leader, I can't allow the team to be sad. They must gear up and play next game. Our dream was to play final. But this happens."

The Mali v Brazil match will be the ‘curtain-raiser’ for the final between England and Spain at the same venue later on Saturday.

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