Mali Stumble As France Book Final Berth With Germany

29 November 2023

A dramatic second period saw France score twice to come from behind and defeated Mali 2-1 to book their place in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Indonesia 2023TM final.

Mali started as the brighter of the two sides and called Paul Argney into action twice inside the first 10 minutes. The France keeper denied captain, Ibrahim Diarra with a fine sprawling save, before making himself big again soon after to thwart Ibrahim Kanate.

Mali eventually break the deadlock in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time becoming the first team to net against France in more than 500 minutes of U-17 World Cup football in the process when Diarra tapped home after Argney flapped at a Barry cross from the left.

The game would, though, be turned on its head inside just 60 seconds shortly after the restart. First, a high challenge by Mali defender,SouleymaneSanogo, earned him a straight red card following an on-field review. Then, from the resulting free-kick, Ismail Bouneb found the head of YvannTiti, who made no mistake in glancing the ball home.

France completed the comeback just 13 minutes later. Bouneb stood over another free-kick, but this time found himself in shooting range, and converted superbly, whipping the ball low to the goalkeeper's left and into the bottom corner.

The ten men of Mali, to their credit, continue to push and came within a whisker of equalising in the dying moments. HamidouMakalou fired a rocket of a free-kick towards goal, but Argney was again defiant, and touched the ball on to the crossbar.

Earlier, Paris Brunner scored a brace then netted a shootout-winning penalty as Germany beat Argentina in a FIFA U-17 World CupTM classic.

Agustin Ruberto scored a hat-trick for Argentina but his incredible efforts proved in vain as the Germans edged home on spot-kicks, with Player of the Match, Konstantin Heide, saving Argentina's first two attempts.

Germany looked set to be heading through in normal time when they led 3-2 in the game's dying moments but Ruberto's clinical 97th-minute finish sent the game to a shootout.

Argentina duo, Franco Mastantuono and Claudio Echeverri, then saw their penalties saved by Heide before Brunner clinched an unforgettable win.

France will now face Germany in the final on Saturday, while Mali will take on Argentina in Friday's match for third place. -FIFA

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