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Brazil, Mali look to savour last dance in India

Brazil will be in action at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on the last day of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, potentially in front of a capacity crowd that has embraced them as their own.

There is a small plot twist though, which will disappoint coach Carlos Amadeu's team just as much as it will the football-city they have entertained over the last one week: It is a third-place playoff -- the starter before the main course, in a manner of speaking -- only the third such in eight semi-final appearances...

The Mali goal that wasn't

Cheick Oumar Doucoure (in yellow) had no business taking the audacious strike he took on goal.
Cheick Oumar Doucoure (in yellow) had no business taking the audacious strike he took on goal.

37,847 pairs of eyes at Navi Mumbai's DY Patil stadium saw Cheick Oumar Doucoure score arguably the 'goal' of the 2017 U-17 World Cup in the semi-final against Spain on Wednesday. The one pair that mattered though - those of line referee Toru Sagara - did not.

The Malian midfielder had no business taking the shot. His side were 2-0 down and seemingly out of ideas at the hour mark. Doucoure was some thirty yards away from Spanish keeper Alvaro Fernandes. Yet when he whiplashed his right foot...

Mali look to continue winning against the odds

Lassana N'Diaye (No. 19) celebrates his goal during Mali's 3-0 group stage win over Turkey in Mumbai.
Lassana N'Diaye (No. 19) celebrates his goal during Mali's 3-0 group stage win over Turkey in Mumbai.

"Loyal towards destiny, we will be all united, one people, one goal," the players sang.

As they have done in each of their training sessions so far, Mali's practice on Tuesday ahead of their Under-17 World Cup semi-final match against Spain was preceded by the team's rendition of the country's national anthem. The song's accompanying jaunty military march music isn't being piped in yet at the practice ground adjacent to Navi Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium, yet there is no mistaking the lyrics featuring...