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Spain eye knockout berth

| | Kochi
Spain eye knockout berth

European champions Spain will enter their final group match against DPR Korea as the firm favourites, looking to secure a round-of-16 berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup here on Friday.

Spain are placed second in Group D behind leader Brazil, to whom they lost 1-2 in their tournament opener.

They bounced back from that reverse in style and notched up a 4-0 victory over Niger in their second game.

Now, they are raring to go as they lock horns with the bottom-placed North Koreans, who have lost both their matches to Niger and Brazil.

The Koreans are unlikely to test the tactically superior Spanish side at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Abel Ruiz, who plays for Bracelona's B team, was in great form against Niger, scoring a brace and he will lokk to continue in same vein.

The likes of Ferran Torres and Sergio Gomez will also prove to be tough propositions for the North Koreans, who can take solace from the fighting outing against the formidable Brazilians in their last match.

North Korea lost to World Cup debutants Niger in their opening game before playing Brazil.

Spain had come into the tournament as one of the title favourites. They had also started well against the South American giants, taking an early lead through an own goal, before defensive lapses saw them go down 1-2.

Brazil take on Niger

Margao: Assured of a pre-quarterfinal spot in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, three-time champions Brazil would look to entertain the Goan crowd with yet another win when they take on debutants Niger in their last Group D match here on Friday.

Brazil have been in sublime form, winning both their encounters against Spain and North Korea to top Group D and make it to the knock-out round.

Just like Goa, Brazil, who were also ruled by the Portuguese, have the same culture and the team will have no difficulty in adjusting themselves to the conditions here.

They would be looking to take advantage of it and end their league campaign with yet another dominating show, keeping their unbeaten run intact.

Brazil, who were also the runners-up twice, are looking to win the title for the fourth time.

The Brazilian trio of Lincoln, Paulinho and Brenner have combined well up front and have troubled their rival defence with their sublime skill.

Their midfield duo of Marcos Antonio and Alan Souza will keep the upfront busy with regular supply of passes.

Come Friday, Niger's defence will have an uphill task to keep the mighty Brazilians at bay.

"We are happy to come down to Goa, the place is similar to Brazil and we feel at home here as the weather is same like Brazil," said media manager Gregorio.

"We are happy to play our last match of the league down in Goa as there are lot of Brazilian fans staying here and they will come to cheer our team."

Debutant Niger, on the other hand, had a dream start to the tournament when they won their opening encounter against North Korea but lost the next game to Spain.

Now they have no option but to win tomorrow's match if they want to have any chance of advancing to the next stage of the tournament.

"It going to be a tough match against Brazil which we have to win in order to qualify for the knock-out round.

“We have the potential to overcome the three times champions and are looking forward to the challenge," said Niger coach Ismaila Tiemoko.

 
 
 
 
 

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