Abel Ruiz penalty takes Spain through to quarterfinals


Abel Ruiz's 90th minute penalty helped Spain squeak into the quarterfinals of the Under-17 World Cup with 2-1 win over France in Guwahati on Tuesday.

Emotional scenes followed in Guwahati at the end of the game, with the French players exhausted on the ground and the Spanish taking in the crowd's appreciation. A defensive error by Oumar Solet caught a charging Jose Lara just inside the box, which resulted in the penalty. Spanish captain Abel Ruiz stepped up and finished emphatically from the spot, breaking the 1-1 deadlock which had lasted through the second half. Spain will now travel to Kochi to play Iran in the quarterfinals.

Lenny Pintor put France in front in the 34th minute, with a neat right-footed shot from inside the box after being found by Amine Gouiri. Their lead didn't last long, as Spain found the equalizer through Juan Miranda's header from Ferran Torres' cross.

It was an evenly contested match, with both sides creating plenty of chances, but struggling to get a clear sight of goal. Even after conceding the late penalty, France continued their search for an equalizer, and came close in the four-minute injury time, when Wilson Isidor's header from close range was scrambled clear by Spain.

Having staged a strong comeback after losing their tournament opener to Brazil, Spain are seeking their maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup title.