Sporting Alert – Defending champions Nigeria seek to win back-to-back titles when they take on Mali in an all-African final at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile on Sunday.
- Belgium v Mexico
Live from 1:50 PM
FIFA U-17 World Cup
- Mali v Nigeria
Live from 4:50 PM
FIFA U-17 World Cup
Nigeria, which defeated Mexico win this title in 2013, got the better of the CONCACAF side again – this time in the semi-finals, to book its place in the final.
The Super Eagles rushed past El Tri 4-2 with an impressive performance at Estadio Municipal on Thursday and will start favourites to continue that great form and go all the way to lifting another FIFA U-17 World Cup trophy.
Mali, in the meantime, picked up a very hard-fought 3-1 victory over Belgium in their last four battle.
Les Aiglonnets fell behind early in Estadio La Portada, after Dante Rigo gave the Europeans a sixth-minute lead, but battle through Boubacar Traore, Sidiki Maiga and Sekou Koita to earn a place in Vina Del Mar.
According to Fifa.com stats, the Africans were achieving something no other Mali national side has accomplished, at any age level, and that is to progress to the prize match of a FIFA tournament.
“We conceded a quick opening goal, and we had to react quickly. We had a bad start in this game, which does not happen often to my players despite their young age,” Mali coach Baye Ba said.
“For the final, I do not care. I just want to face a team that we can beat.”
After falling behind against Mexico in their semi-final as well, Nigeria rallied to come out on top in the six-goal thriller and setup an all-African final for only the second time in tournament history, following the 1993 battle between the Super Eagles and Ghana.
“It was a difficult match (against Mexico) in which both teams did their best,” Nigeria coach Emmanuel Amuneke said.
“We are happy to be in the final and have the chance to defend the world title. Mali is a good team, Africa’s champion.
“This is going to be an interesting challenge,” added Amuneke.
Nigeria will play in their eighth Cup final since 1985 when the tournament began as the FIFA U-16 Championship.
The reigning FIFA U-17 World Cup champions have won four titles – 1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013 – and are the nation with the most wins at under-17 level.
In the third place playoff game, Mexico and Belgium will meet, hoping to leave Chile on a winning note.
Mexico were hoping to make the final once again, but found Nigeria too hot to handle in their semi-finals.
Game Day Schedule
FIFA U-17 World Cup 3rd Place Match
Belgium-Mexico, Vina Del Mar, (16.00 local time) 2:00pm EST
FIFA U-17 World Cup Final
Mali-Nigeria, Vina Del Mar, (19.00 local time) 5:00pm EST