A late penalty by Abel Ruiz sent Spain into the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 after a 2-1 victory over France in Guwahati on Tuesday. The result takes the European champions into a last-eight showdown against Iran in Kochi on Sunday.
The opening half was a cagey affair between these two European heavyweights, with little to separate the two sides through the first half hour. That changed on 34 minutes, as France took the lead through Lenny Pintor’s fine move and finish after Amine Gouiri picked him out on the left side of the Spain box.
Then, just before half-time, Spain drew level through Juan Miranda. The Barcelona defender made an unattended run into the France box to meet Ferran Torres’s cross from the right after France failed to clear their lines.
That equaliser seemed to inspire Spain in the second half, with Sergio Gomez having the pick of their chances. He forced France goalkeeper Yahia Fofana into a good save on 56 minutes before missing the target with an excellent free-kick opportunity.
As the match seemed destined for a penalty shoot-out at the full-time whistle, Spain were awarded a decisive spot-kick in the final minutes after substitute Jose Lara went down under the close attentions of defender Oumar Solet in the France box. Captain Ruiz stepped up to convert the penalty and send Spain into the last eight of the competition.