Author: Mark

The Under-17 World Cup: England’s To Lose

The double dream lives. And “only” Spain stand between Steve Cooper’s teenage sensations and World Cup glory. But whatever happens in Saturday’s final, this World Cup has been terrific. There has been none of the tail-off in excitement which usually pock-marks knock-out stages. And for all the joy that underdogs’ successes can bring, there is something satisfying about the best teams contesting the “business end.” Quarter-finals Mali 2 Ghana 1 They’ll not have played many matches in these conditions in Timbuktu or Tumale. The monsoon season had clearly hung around to turn the Guwahati surface into an unplayable mudheap,...

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The Under-17 World Cup: The Second Round

The FIFA Under-17 World Cup has just completed its second round, so here’s Mark Murphy with a round-up of all the shenanigans in India. Colombia 0 Germany 4. A bad evening for South America (part one). I’d filed this match under “too close to call.” Ultimately all that was “too close to call” was whether Colombia were awful or dreadful. German striker Jann-Fiete Arp’s surname may sound like the noise you make if you cough and burp simultaneously. That may accurately summarise his contribution in general play. But, boy, the boy can finish. He didn’t look over-displeased to be...

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The Under-17 World Cup: Eight On A Passage In India

At one stage, the Under-17 World Cup’s goals-per-game ratio was tapping four on the shoulder, despite some poor finishing. Eurosport Player will be getting lots of new subscribers, if this continues. ON-FIELD Group A: India 0 Ghana 4; United States 1 Colombia 3. Final Group Standings: Ghana 6pts (GD +4), Colombia 6 (+2), United States 6 (+2), India 0. Group A’s turnaround was swift and late, and would have been ultra-dramatic if the third-placed team wasn’t guaranteed qualification after everybody beat India and beat each other. Many Indian players were in tears after the Ghana game. But it is...

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The Under-17 World Cup: The Group Stages

The double is on. Having been stylishly convincing Under-20 World Cup winners in South Korea in June, England are contenders to add the Under-17 crown in… wait… India? Fifa’s desire to make the global game truly global is truly admirable. Taking the senior men’s World Cup to Qatar was neither admirable nor for that cause. India? Makes more sense, even at the back-end of monsoon season. And the Under-17 World Cup’s early matches have offered fabulously entertaining justification for the decision to hold it on the sub-continent. However, India owed its host status to… ugh… Sepp Blatter. The disgraced...

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Erin Go Bragh: Ireland Go To The Play-Offs

Hey, we’re in the play-offs. But first, a confession. I wrote much of this article over the weekend, starting as Moldova honked tunelessly through their national anthem in Dublin on Friday (and missing Darryl Murphy’s second-minute opener while typing). And, because of my pessimistic desperation to tempt fate in a good way, my words were overtaken by events. I didn’t give Ireland a proverbial prayer of winning in Cardiff. I said a few, and my future cousin-in-law had “a novena going since last Saturday” (trans: a LOT of prayers), but that’s another matter. And, because of my pessimistic desperation...

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