- France qualify for the last 16 of Brazil 2019
- Senegal join fellow Africans Nigeria and Angola in the next round
- Netherlands and Haiti now up against it
France and Senegal were the big winners of Matchday 5 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™, as they booked their spots in the knockout phase by each recording their second successive group victory.
The French defeated Korea Republic in Group C, confirming the high expectations many observers had of them prior to the tournament, although they had to wait for confirmation of Haiti’s loss to Chile before celebrating their qualification. With that win, La Rojita gave themselves some breathing space, and their future path in the competition will likely be determined in their final pool match against the Koreans.
Senegal ensured there would be at least three African nations still in the hunt after the group stage, as they dramatically joined Nigeria and Angola – who both qualified on Tuesday – in the next round courtesy of two late goals. The Netherlands, the reigning European champions, now need a win in their last game if they are to have any chance of remaining in the tournament.
Senegal’s qualification from Group D was mathematically sealed when Japan drew 0-0 with United States, a result that suits the second-place Asians better than the Americans.
📌 Memorable moments
Tapia uses his head
After having been listed as a substitute for Chile’s clash with France, Gonzalo Tapia seized his chance when handed a place in the starting line-up against Haiti in Goiania. The Universidad Catolica forward set up Luis Rojas for La Rojita’s opening goal, but he subsequently received a hard knock to the head as half-time approached. He managed to recover, however, and even contributed a crucial second-half goal of his own… with his head!
Tuesday saw Nigeria and Angola qualify, and on Wednesday it was Senegal’s turn. The African triumvirate have something else in common: they all enjoy last-gasp victories. For the second time at Brazil 2019, Senegal conceded a goal in the early stages of a match and managed to completely turn things around in the second half, sealing their success as the final whistle sounded.
Putting the star in Stars and Stripes
If the United States still harbour aspirations of continuing on past the group stage, it is in no small part due to the agility and handling skills of their goalkeeper, Chituru Odunze. The impressive No12, who signed for English Premier League side Leicester City in August, used all of his imposing height and reach to stop everything that Japan threw at him in Estadio Kleber Andrade, as they hunted for the elusive goal that would qualify them for the next round. Two saves in particular, from the head of Yamato Wakatsuki and in a one-on-one with Jun Nishikawa, were of the jaw-dropping variety.
📅 Up next