Spain down Mali to set up England showdown

Abel Ruiz hit a brace as Spain beat Mali 3-1 in their U-17 World Cup semi-final, setting up a final showdown with England.

The final represents a re-match of the UEFA European U-17 final over the summer, which saw Spain emerge victorious on penalties.

Ruiz, currently plying his trade for Barcelona’s B side, opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 19 minutes before doubling his side’s advantage just shy of half-time.

Mali had created their fair share of chances in an even first half but their profligacy was punished by a ruthless Spain side.

However, the Eagles were denied a clear goal just past the hour mark when Cheick Doucore’s thunderous effort crossed the line after coming back off the bar. Yet with goal-line technology not in use at the tournament, Spain’s two-goal advantage remained intact.

And Spain added insult to injury when Ferrán Torres headed in a third with 71 minutes gone.

Lassana Ndiaye cut the arrears a couple of minutes later but Jonas Komla’s men were, despite considerable effort, unable to force another.

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