Spain defeats Iran 3-1 in quart-finals

England's Rhian Brewster

Spain's class proved too much for Mali as an Abel Ruiz brace inspired the U-17 European champion to a comprehensive 3-1 win in the semifinal of the Federation Internationale de Football Association U-17 World cup here on Wednesday.

Spain have never managed to capture the Federation Internationale de Football Association U-17 World Cup.

Spain have failed to qualify since finishing third in 2009. If Spain have to avoid conceding they will have to cut off the pace of the Malian wingers in defence and, while in transit, make sure their wingers get enough time and space to weave out threatening counter-attacks. With Mali likely to keep Spain with their backs against the wall, Torres' deft touches, twists and turns, and directness can be pivotal.

Spain created their first chance in the second minute when a cross by Ruiz from the right was deflected by the Mali defence and Sergio Gomez punched the rebound towards goal. Spain were awarded a penalty when a mistake by the Mali defence saw an unmarked Cesar Gelabert storm into the penalty box before being brought down by Abdoulaye Diaby. Mali pulled one back through N'Diaye but it was too late.

Abel Ruiz put the European champions ahead in the 13th minute.

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César Gelabert was the creator of Spain's first two goals.

Spain was happy to soak Mali's pressure and in the 33rd minute nearly doubled its tally on the counter when Ruiz's side-footed finish, capping off a slick move from the left flank, missed the right-hand post by a whisker. But with no goal-line technology to assist the referee, all the furious protests from the Mali bench came to naught even as the local crowd threw their weight behind the Africans.

A first-half brace from Abel Ruiz and a third goal by Ferran Torres in the second-half sealed Spain's progression into the final.

N'Diaye reduced the margin for Mali soon after when he neatly received a cross, saw off a Spanish defender before calmly beating the goalkeeper. Spain were also crowned champions of Europe, winning the UEFA U-17 Euros in order to qualify for the tournament.

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