Iran books itself a knockout berth in U17 WC

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Iran notched up tournament-defining win by shredding Germany to bits in a 4-0 mauling at the Fatorda stadium here on Tuesday. Younes Delfi bagged a brace while Allahyar Sayyad and Vahid Namdari completed the rout as Iran guaranteed itself a knockout berth. It will top Group ‘C’ if it avoids defeat against Costa Rica in the final game on Friday.

Germany made four changes, which included midfielders Elias Abouchabaka and Nicolas Kuhn both being benched. But nothing worked against an unchanged Iran.

The European giant had nearly three-quarters of the possession until the interval, but it never seemed like it. Iran aimed 11 shots at the goal in the first half alone and Sayyad could have had a hat-trick of his own.

The Asians knew exactly how to beat the German press. They pumped long balls routinely and, to their glee, Germany struggled all through.

Goalie Christian Fruchtl — not allowed to travel to India by Bayern Munich following an injury to Manuel Neuer — was sorely missed as Luca Plogmann turned in another weak performance.

In front of him, there was a complete lack of communication between the defenders as the Iranians ran the channels unchallenged. Delfi’s opener came when his shot sneaked between Plogmann’s legs after a deflection. His goal to double the lead was the result of a botched clearance off a set-piece. Sayyad finally got into the scoresheet with an outstanding header from a fine Delfi cross. The fourth from Namdari was merely academic, for the Germans, by then, were dead men walking.

Mohammed Sharifi was a controlling presence in the midfield as Iran never ceded control of an area of the pitch so central to Germany’s football.

The latter’s only chance was on the stroke of half time when John Yeboah sent a shot over from six yards out. Even if it had gone in, it would have done little to stop the rampaging Iranians.

Earlier, Guinea and Costa Rica played out an entertaining 2-2 draw to keep their hopes alive.

The Central Americans twice took the lead but oddly will be the happier of the two for they were under the mat for much of the match.

Down 2-1, Guinea coach Souleymane Camara attacked with as many as four forwards — Naby Bangoura, Djibril Fandje Toure, Djibril Sylla and Doss Soumah. But each one them let him down. It was ultimately the overlapping right back Ibrahima Soumah who equalised in the 81st minute.

He could have even won the game for Guinea deep in injury time.

But after having dribbled his way through, he could just manage a weak shot straight at the goalie.

In all this, the Costa Rica custodian Ricardo Montenegro played no little part, saving multiple shots on goal.

The results: Costa Rica 2 (Jarquin 26, Gomez 67) drew with Guinea 2 (Fandje Toure 30, Soumah 81); Iran 4 (Delfi 6, 42, Sayyad 49, Namdari 75) bt Germany 0.

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