NEW DELHI – Colombia advanced to the knockout stage of the under-17 World Cup in India with a 3-1 victory on Thursday over the United States, which also has booked a spot in the round of 16 as the third-place team in Group A.
Little separated the two sides in the first half at DY Patil Stadium in New Mumbai, in which Colombia took the early lead on a goal from inside the penalty area by Juan Vidal in the third minute before George Acosta got the equalizer for the US with a score in minute 24 off a pass from Andrew Carleton, who took advantage of a Colombian defensive blunder.
Colombia’s attacking style, however, was rewarded with two more goals in the second half: one on a stunning free kick in the 67th minute by Juan Peñaloza and another by Deiber Caicedo three minutes before stoppage time.
In other round-robin results on Thursday, Ghana clinched first place in Group A at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi with a 4-0 rout of host India, which has been eliminated from the tournament.
In Group B action, Paraguay, which had already advanced to the knockout stage, remained perfect at the U-17 World Cup and secured the top spot in its group with a 3-1 victory Thursday in New Mumbai over Turkey, which has been eliminated.
Mali, which will be the only other team from Group B in the knockout phase, eliminated New Zealand with a 3-1 victory in New Delhi.
With two more days of round-robin action remaining, nine teams have clinched berths in the knockout stage: Ghana, Colombia, the US, Paraguay, Mali, Iran, Brazil, France and England.
In Friday Group C action, Germany can book a place in the knockout phase with a victory over Guinea, while Costa Rica will likely need a win over Iran to stay alive in the event.
In Group D, Spain will advance to the knockout stage if it can avoid a major upset Friday at the hands of North Korea; Brazil and Niger also will square off in the final action in that group.