France down Mali to reach Under-17 World Cup final
France qualified for the Under-17 World Cup final in Indonesia on Tuesday after a 2-1 win against a spirited Mali side.
Semi-Finals ✅#U17WC— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 28, 2023
They will try to claim a second championship after their only win in 2001 when they face Germany in the tournament decider on Saturday in the Javan city of Surakarta.
Germany downed Argentina in the other semifinal 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw.
But France had to come back from a goal down after Mali took the lead in first-half injury time through captain Ibrahim Diarra.
It was the first goal conceded in the tournament by the young players of coach Jean-Luc Vannuchi.
They drew level in the 56th minute through a header from Troyes' Yvann Titi, before he was withdrawn minutes later through injury.
That came after Mali were reduced to 10 men a minute earlier when Souleymane Sanogo was sent off for a foul on defender Aymen Sadi.
With Mali a man down, Valenciennes' Ismail Bouneb scored the decisive goal with a free-kick in the 69th minute.
He had sent France into the semifinals after scoring the winner against Uzbekistan in their quarterfinal match.
France goalkeeper Paul Argney of Le Havre secured the win by pushing a free-kick onto the bar in the 89th minute.
Germany have never won the Under-17 World Cup but beat France in the European Championship final in June on penalties after a 0-0 draw.