FIFA U-17 World Cup: Iran thrash Costa Rica to advance as Group C winners
Iran beat Costa Rica 3-0 with goals from Mohammad Ghobeishavi, Taha Shariati and Mohammad Sardari, to progress into the FIFA U-17 World Cup Round of 16 as winners of Group CUpdated: Oct 13, 2017 20:35 IST
They finished the group proceedings with three wins in as many matches, scoring 10 goals and conceding just one. By topping the group, they also made sure they stay in Goa for their round of 16 match on October 17. They are likely to face the third-placed team from Group F.
Germany recovered well from the humiliating defeat at the hands of Iran to beat Guinea 3-1 and finished second in the group. They will travel to New Delhi for their round of 16 match against Colombia on October 16.
The Iran vs Costa Rica match’s fate was decided in the first half itself when Iran converted two penalties in the space of five minutes to go 2-0 up. On both occasions, Iran’s Younes Delfi was fouled by the Costa Rican defenders -- first by skipper Amferny Arias and then by Karin Arce.
The first penalty was tapped in by skipper Mohammad Ghobeishavi, sending keeper Ricardo Montenegro towards the wrong side. Montegnero guessed it right the second time, but Taha Shariati’s strike was too powerful for him to stop. Substitute Mohammad Sardari wrapped up the win for the Asian giants in the 89th minute.
Iran started with a defensive line-up, playing with five defenders with one of them – Ali Davaran – sitting in front of the centre-backs, shielding the defence along with skipper Ghobeishavi.
Centre-backs Shariati and Amir Esmaeilzadeh also did a good job, hardly giving any room to Costa Rica forwards Gomez and Julen Cordero.
Esmaeilzadeh injured his shoulder towards the end of the first half and was replaced by Majid Nasiri, who was right on the ball from the word go and didn’t allow the Costa Rican forwards much of space.
Such was Iran’s control over the match that Costa Rica were always playing catch-up, struggling to create chances.
Costa Rica’s best opportunity to score came in the second essay as Jose Alfaro’s brilliant cross found Yecxy Jarquin on the right, but his shot was saved by keeper Ali Gholamzadeh and the follow-up was put wide by Julen Cordero.
Iran coach Abbas Chamanian lauded his defence for their excellent work rate through all three group games.
“The next rounds are the most important where we will face tougher teams. Our defence has done a good job till now and we hope they will continue to do the same in the play-offs as well,” said Chamanian.
Costa Rica coach Breansse Camacho felt it was difficult for his team to cope with the physically stronger Iran team.
“We played against a very strong and physical team tonight. In the first half we made a few mistakes and we conceded two penalties which was a big disadvantage. In the second half, because of the physical nature of the game, it was difficult to comeback,” he said.
First Published: Oct 13, 2017 20:31 IST