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FIFA closes racism case from U-17 World Cup final

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA closed a racism investigation Thursday that involved a Spain player and an England opponent from the Under-17 World Cup final.

FIFA said its disciplinary panel dismissed the charge against the Spanish player because of a “lack of sufficient evidence that could corroborate the English player’s claim.”

It is the third recent case of a high-profile allegation of racist abuse of black players being closed without action.

The latest ruling, from England’s 5-2 win in India last October, followed “a thorough investigation,” FIFA said.

In March, UEFA ended two investigations because of a lack of verifiable evidence.

Those claims were made by Borussia Dortmund forward Michy Batshuayi against Italian club Atalanta, and Liverpool youth forward Rhian Brewster against a Spartak Moscow opponent.

Brewster also played in the Under-17 World Cup final, scoring the first goal in England’s comeback after trailing 2-0 in the first half.

“Despite the absence of a sanction, which can only be imposed on the basis of clear evidence, the disciplinary committee would like to restate FIFA’s unequivocal, zero-tolerance stance against all forms of discrimination,” the soccer body said in a statement.

In other rulings announced Thursday, FIFA imposed fines totaling more than $1.25 million.

The Laos soccer federation was fined 690,000 Swiss francs ($712,000) for several breaches of rules governing the eligibility of players to represent a national team.

Benfica and Sporting Lisbon were among five clubs found guilty of breaking rules which prohibit third-party investors having a stake in players’ transfer rights, and misuse of FIFA’s international transfer registration process.

Benfica was fined a total of 165,000 Swiss francs ($170,000) in two cases and Sporting was fined 110,000 Swiss francs ($114,000). In Spain, Celta Vigo was fined 65,000 Swiss francs ($67,000) and Rayo Vallecano was fined 55,000 Swiss francs ($57,000). Qatari club Al Arabi was fined 187,500 Swiss francs ($194,000).

England win U-17 World Cup

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England won the U-17 World Cup after launching a superb comeback against Spain in Kolkata.

The victory now means England are just the second nation in history to win the U-20 and U-17 World Cups in the same year.

U-17 glory for Steve Cooper’s team caps a wonderful year for all of the England youth teams after victories at the Toulon Tournament, the U-20 World Cup and the U-19 EUROs, while they were also runners up at EURO 2017 and the U-21 side reached the European Championship semifinals.

Trailing 2-0 early on, the young Three Lions looked to be heading to defeat to Spain just like they did on penalty kicks earlier in 2017 in the European Championship finals.

However, Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster (who won the Golden Boot with eight goals in the tournament) started the comeback and England never looked back.

They made it 2-2 early in the second half as Morgan Gibbs slotted home, then Manchester City’s Phil Foden made it 3-2 before Steven Sessegnon cleared off the line as Spain poured forward to try and grab an equalizer.

That left plenty of gaps and England were clinical as Marc Guehi made it 4-2 and Foden finished things off to grab his second and England’s fifth.

Cue incredible celebrations at the final whistle.

 

Top 15 players at 2017 U-17 World Cup

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With the 2017 U-17 World Cup coming to a close in India, it is time to look at some of the top youngsters in the world.

[ MORE: Latest U-17 World Cup videos ] 

England and Spain clash in the final in Kolkata on Saturday, while Brazil and Mali play in the third-place match so there is still time for new stars to emerge.

[ MORE: Who is Rhian Brewster? ]

However, we have seen some hugely impressive displays so far and here are the 15 stars of the tournament in India.

[ VIDEO: England reach U-17 World Cup final


Rhian Brewster (England & Liverpool) – Consecutive hat tricks in quarterfinal and semifinal wins, the Liverpool youngster is highly-regarded by Jurgen Klopp and it is easy to see why with his predatory finishing. It’s tough to spot a weakness in Brewster’s game.

Phil Foden (England & Manchester City) – Brewster will grab the headlines of his goals but Foden has orchestrated England’s attack. The Man City playmaker shone in preseason for Pep Guardiola‘s side and the 17-year-old continues to be named in matchday squads. A star in the making.

Jadon Sancho (England & Borussia Dortmund) – He only played in the group stage but scored three goals before Dortmund recalled him. The former Man City forward is one of the brightest attacking talents in Europe.

Tim Weah (USA and Paris Saint-Germain) – His stunning hat trick against Paraguay showed his potential, including a stunning goal which could win Goal of the Tournament. Given his name, and he’s at PSG, plenty will be calling for Weah to be pushed up through the youth ranks for the U.S.

Andrew Carleton (USA and Atlanta United) – Like Foden, most of his good work will go unnoticed by Carleton was a huge success in alongside his Atlanta teammate Sean Goslin. He played the right passes at the right time and looks to have a bright future in MLS.

Abel Ruiz (Spain and Barcelona) – The Barca product scored twice in Spain’s semifinal win against Mali and has scored six goals in total during the tournament. He will be a handful for England’s defense in Saturday’s final and is both the top goalscorer and appearance holder in Spanish U-17 history.

Lincoln (Brazil and Flamengo) – Three goals to his name to match Brenner and Paulinho, Lincoln was part of a fluid Brazilian attack who scored 12 goals in six games. Real Madrid and Barcelona are both reportedly trying to sign the center forward, which tells you all you need to know.

Lassana Ndiaye (Mali and GD Maputo) – What a tournament from the Mali striker who will surely be moving on from his club team in Mozambique. Six goals in six games helped Mali to the semifinals and they are a team who surprised everyone.

Jan-Fiete Arp (Germany and Hamburg) – Skipper of the German side, Arp scored five goals and plenty of them were deft finishes after well-time runs. Another flowing forward has rolled off of Die Mannschaft’s supreme production line.

Mohammed Dawood (Iraq and Al-Naft) – Long touted as a rising star in world soccer, Dawood scored three goals in group play as Iraq finished second behind finalists England. Dawood will have plenty of offers from overseas.

Younes Delfi (Iran and Esteghlal Khuzestan F.C.) – The playmaker was a key reason for Iran’s stunning group stage displays where they won all three games but he didn’t play in their Round of 16 defeat to Spain. His absence left a huge hole in Iran’s attack.

Juan Miranda (Spain and Barcelona) – An attacking full back who loves to score an assist in attack, Miranda has wonderful balance and it’s like watching a young Marcos Alonso.

Yacine Adli (France and Paris Saint-Germain) – The PSG playmaker racked up five assists and was often the main man behind Amine Gouiri’s six goals. A wonderful talent who also smashed home a lovely free kick to prove he can do more than set others up.

Amine Gouiri (France and Lyon) – He scored five goals in four games for France and his ability to finish in the box from obscure situations and angles gave the French side a cutting edge.

Wesley (Brazil and Flamengo) – A proper Brazilian full back who scored against England in the semifinal and kept pouring forward from right back. It looks like Brazil has yet another talented attacking full back on the rise.

England beat Brazil, reach U-17 World Cup final (video)

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England beat Brazil 3-1 in Kolkata on Wednesday to reach the U-17 World Cup final where they will play Spain.

[ MORE: Latest U-17 World Cup videos

Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster scored a hat trick for the second successive knockout game (he also bagged a treble in their quarterfinal victory against the USA) to send the young Three Lions into Saturday’s final against Spain who beat Mali 3-1 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.

Manchester City’s Phil Foden was often the architect for England in their semifinal victory, but Brewster’s finishing inside the box was predatory as Steve Cooper’s men impressed.

England took the lead early on as Brewster finished calmly but Brazil fought back very well and were soon level with Wesley finishing off a flowing move. Big chances came and went for Brazil and Brewster struck again before half time to make it 2-1.

The 17-year-old Liverpool forward sent a header over the bar in the second half but completed his hat trick in fine fashion to seal the win and England’s spot in Saturday’s final in Kolkata as they aim to win their first-ever World Cup at U-17 level.

England will Spain in the final, who they lost to in the European Championship final earlier this year on penalty kicks after Spain had scored a late equalizer to deny England glory in normal time.

Spain reached the World Cup final with two goals from Barcelona’s Abel Ruiz and Ferran Torres added another late on to end Mali’s fairytale run in the tournament.

If the young Three Lions do go on and win the U-17 World Cup it will mean England will hold both the U-17 and U-20 World Cup trophies at the same time.

Watch out, world.

It seems like England have finally figured this World Cup thing out as the success of England’s youth teams in 2017 continues.

Watch Live: Ghana and Niger meet, Brazil takes on Honduras in U-17 World Cup

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The United States has made its way through the U-17 World Cup Round of 16 in triumphant fashion, but there’s still plenty more to be decided.

[ LIVE: Stream U-17 World Cup ] 

Mali is already through to the quarterfinals, and they await the winner of another all-African matchup in Ghana and Niger. Ghana topped a hotly-contested Group A with the United States and Colombia, while Niger made it through via the third-place table after finishing behind both Spain and Brazil in Group D.

The Brazilians won that group, and they face Honduras who finished third in Group E but advanced, collecting enough points behind France and Japan. Brazil went a perfect 3-0 in the group stage, conceding just one goal while scoring six.

Tuesday’s U-17 World Cup Round of 16 games

Ghana vs. Niger – 7:30 a.m. ET
Brazil vs. Honduras – 7:30 a.m. ET