Australia crowned IFA under 17 World Cup champions following epic finale with the USA
The stage was set for the IFA under 17’s World Cup final between USA and Australia. The USA picked up a fine victory over Scotland, in the semi final, and showed that they are a very organised unit. Australia have been in dominant form, answering every question that has been asked of them in this tournament so far.
Australia had the first opportunity of the game through a Mitch Dobson free kick. Two players ran over the ball before Dobson slammed the ball towards the American rearguard but the effort went wide of the left post.
Soon afterward a long throw out from USA goalkeeper Alejandro Gonzalez found Carlos Armendariz up top. However, his effort just went over the bar. It was only the early stages of the game but it was developing into a cracker of a game for the spectators at the Dundee International Sports Complex.
In the seventh minute, Jonathan Franco went on a mazy run for the USA but ran into the keeper then, at the other end, Australia’s Patrick Langlois sent a shot just wide.
Soon it was Kevin Robertson to have an effort on goal, from the edge of the box, but Gonzalez was on hand to save. You could sense that a goal was coming, with the game becoming an end-to-end display.
Jonathan Franco played in Carlos Armendariz, in the tenth minute for the USA, however Seb Stankovic, in the Aussie goal, saved his powerful effort excellently.
Australia then had an effort of their own, courtesy of Liam Dawson, which was the clearest effort of the game so far. His goal bound strike was denied on the line by a phenomenal clearance from Diangelo Smith-Gleaves.
The Aussies were soon celebrating as they took the lead shortly after. Following a neat build up Liam Dawson was on hand to slide it past the American goalkeeper from close range. Dawson had had a decent game for the Aussies and was rewarded with a goal.
The USA were eager to get back into the game as they searched for a swift equaliser. Smith-Gleaves had an effort, which was denied well by Stankovic. The talented striker got past the Australian defence and took the shot but it was straight at the big goalkeeper.
Australia then made it 2-0 in the 14th minute after a long ball from Atayde found Papaspiropolos and the tall striker was on hand to slot the ball past Gonzalez. This time the American keeper had no chance.
As the first half was reaching its climax, both teams were playing some good futsal but couldn’t muster any more goals before the break.
Half Time: USA 0-2 Australia
The start of the second half was very quiet with Australia trying to protect their two-goal lead.
The first chance of the second period arrived five minutes in and it proved to be a golden chance for the USA. Carlos Armendariz played the ball into Luca Scotzniovsky, two players who possess natural creative talent, however the ball just fizzed past the post.
The US had another chance, after Jonathan Franco played in Diangelo Smith-Gleaves, who then worked his way into a good position. Unfortunately his powerful effort went wide of the mark. The latter then went on a mazy run and forced Stankovic to tip the ball round the post.
The USA’s pressure was soon rewarded as they pulled a goal back in the 29th minute. Jonathan Franco found Luca Scotzniovsky and the talented player found the bottom left corner. The comeback was most certainly on and it made for an interesting but frantic last ten minutes of the final and this tournament.
Armendariz executed an attempted lob, shortly after, toward the Australia goal, as the USA piled on the pressure, however the effort just went over the crossbar. The USA were turning the screw but Australia were managing to weather the storm.
Luca Scotzniovsky then played in Jonathan Franco, who subsequently managed to turn his marker, but the bar also denied his powerful effort from the edge of the box.
With four minutes left in the IFA World Cup final arguably the most frantic futsal was soon to be witnessed. Franco, of the US, broke past a defender and his shot also hit the post before being cleared.
Australia soon punished the USA for those missed chances with three minutes to play. A long ball found Liam Dawson, who sealed the win by putting it away expertly beyond the USA goalkeeper.
Immediately after Australia had scored, they were on the ascendency again and were soon awarded a second penalty, taken by Mitch Dobson. Gonzalez was able to save it, using his face no less, to preserve a modicum of hope for the United States.
The hope was soon to be extinguished as Smith-Gleaves inadvertently redirected a long pass, from Stankovic, into his own net to make it 4-1.
Second penalties were then awarded thick and fast in Australia’s favour. Manoli Papaspiropolos, the talented forward, took two in total, and put the game to bed in the process.
Two more second penalties followed before the final whistle with one for each side. The USA’s was saved by Seb Stankovic, before Seth Telfer, who had so recently suffered from an ACL injury, took a spot-kick with 33 seconds to go. However, Gonzalez denied it excellently with his left foot.
Huge congratulations go to Australia on winning the inaugural IFA under 17 World Cup at Under 17’s level. There is no doubt that they have shown, throughout the course of the week, that they thoroughly deserve this success. They played some outstanding, attractive futsal that spurred the crowds to come out and watch them.
The USA did themselves justice throughout the tournament and, while the score line appears harsh, they were inches away from grabbing an equaliser in the second half on more than one occasion.
The day and the trophy, however, belongs to the Australians who can celebrate a superb achievement and an outstanding tournament showing.
Full Time: USA 1-6 Australia
USA: Alejandro Gonzalez, Diangelo Smith-Gleaves, Pablo Almontes, Luca Scotzniovsky, Adrian Medina, Carlos Armendariz, Jonathan Franco, Ricardo Duarte
Star Player: Armendariz
Australia: Harley Brown, Jared Linger, Jose Atayde, Mitch Dobson, Kevin Robertson, Matt Schmidt, Lachlan Buxton, Patrick Langlois, Manoli Papaspiropolos, Kane Pollard, Musa Kamara, Liam Dawson, Seth Telfer, Seb Stankovic
Star Player: Dawson