FIFA U-17 World Cup: Spain take on North Korea, look to build on Niger win
Spain will look to continue their winning momentum when they take on North Korea in their final Group D game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.Updated: Oct 12, 2017 17:03 IST
Hindustan Times, Kochi
Spain put on an attacking masterclass as they trounced Niger 4-0 in their previous Group D encounter of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Tuesday.
The European champions, who lost their opener 2-1 to Brazil, had to rely on a brace from striker Abel Ruiz and strikes from Cesar Gelabert and Sergio Gomez to notch their first points of the tournament.
With a place in Round of 16 seeming a bright possibility, Spain will look to end the group stages with a win against North Korea at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, on Friday.
Finishing second in Group D, the most likely possibility for Spain, is expected to earn them a Round of 16 clash against France in Guwahati.
Coach Santiago Denia, who had called for improvements from his team after the win over Niger, will look to prepare for that possibility by putting in a strong show against North Korea.
“We need to improve. To qualify (from the group), we need to improve on a lot of aspects, Denia had said after the last game.
Gomez and Ruiz were the architects of Spain’s 4-0 win in their previous game. While the former was a constant threat through the left flank, the latter’s pace, positioning and physical stature saw the Nigerien backline fail to mark him out.
Despite Ruiz missing a couple of opportunities to score, Denia wasn’t willing to put any blame on him for those misses.
“It’s not a worry that Abel missed chances (against Niger). It is the job of the technical staff to tell Abel and other players to improve in certain ways,” he said.
“My feedback is always positive for Abel. Abel has been a renowned name not just for Spain, but also for barcelona. He is a player to look forward to. He will do well in future,” Denia added.
North Korea need a win
On the other hand, the North Korean contingent’s hopes of progressing to the next round took a beating after losses to Niger and Brazil.
A shock win against Spain, however, could still see them move to the next round.
Against Brazil, they had managed to create a few chances of their own in the second half despite sitting back for most of the game.
Despite the 2-0 defeat, coach Kim Yong-su had praised his team’s defence after the game.
“I think the defence was good today and the midfield helped in our defensive organisation. The players are very young and concentration can go down. We will do our best in the next game,” he had said.
Skipper Yun Min has been one of the team’s key performers so far, and will need to be at his best if North Korea are to break their goal-scoring hoodoo.
First Published: Oct 12, 2017 16:29 IST