The last group of the initial round, Group F, hosted England, Chile, Iraq and Mexico. With Iraq making only their second appearance in the U-17 tournament, they came to India as the less-experienced campaigners of the group. While it was Chile’s fourth tournament, Mexico and England were the teams to look up to for the others.
England opened up the proceedings in the group with a 4-0 win over Chile. Two goals from English wonder kid Jadon Sancho started off the dominance of England in the group. Mexico and Iraq played out a tight affair in their opening game. At the end, England saw them claim nine points out of nine by winning all the three matches. Iraq, playing only their second U-17 tournament, won the game against Chile and drew the other as they qualified to the next round.
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Winners of the group | England:
Starting with a 4-0 win against Chile, England looked lethal in going forward. Their form resulted in big wins as they scored three past Mexico and four past Iraq. Keeping two clean sheets in three games has to be a good thing for Steve Cooper as shutting out oppositions is the most important thing in the knock out phases of any tournament. Jadon Sancho is the leading goal scorer for the three lions and Manchester United starlet Angel Gomes and the Reading forward Daniel Loader have scored two goals each.
Other team to qualify – Iraq and Mexico
In what is just their second FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament, Iraq did well to qualify to the next round. Opening up the campaign with a 1-1draw in their first game against Mexico, Iraq played absolutely well to win 3-0 over Chile in the second game. In the final game, they suffered a 4-0 hammering against England but the four points scored from the first two games were quite enough for the Asian team to qualify as the second best team from the group.
At the end of group stages, Mexico became the only team to qualify to the Round of 16 without a single win. Two draws were all that Mexico could collect in their three games and it proved well enough in the final moments. With just 2 points, Mexico were placed as the fourth best team in the teams that finished third in their groups and they became the last team of all the 16 teams in the Round of 16.
Key Matches and Crucial encounters:
England 3-2 Mexico
Being the second game for both teams after facing different results in the opening game, a win for England and a draw from Mexico, much was expected of the two teams as they were the big guns of the group and they didn’t fail to impress in the game where it ended 3-2 in favour of England. England let their three goal lead slip when Mexico scored two in return in their fight back.
Iraq 3-0 Chile
This game was quite an important one for Iraq as it was their only chance of snatching up three points. And they did well to clinch three points at the end. The Asian team opened up the scoring pretty as early as the sixth minute through Dawood who scored another at the cusp of 70 minutes. In the end, Iraq cruised with a 3-0 win thanks to an own goal from Chile’s Valencia as they booked their place in the last 16.