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Brewster blasts Brazil to send England to Under-17 final

Kolkata (AFP) – Liverpool attacker Rhian Brewster scored a second hat-trick in two games Wednesday to dump Brazil out of the Under-17 World Cup send England into their first final, where they will play Spain.

European champions Spain rode a double strike from star forward Abel Ruiz to beat a spirited Mali side 3-1 in the second semi-final in Mumbai.

Saturday’s finale in Kolkata will be a re-run of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in May, which saw Spain beat England on penalties.

Brewster, who scored three goals in the 4-1 quarter-final win over the United States, stole the show in England’s 3-1 win over the South American giants in Kolkata.

“We are going to work hard and hopefully win (the tournament),” said Brewster after the game.

Brewster linked up brilliantly with Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden who provided the crosses for the match winner.

Brewster put England ahead in the 10th minute despite an attacking start by the Brazilians.

Brazil forward Wesley snatched an equaliser in the 21st minute to set up a thrilling match in front of a near capacity crowd.

But Brewster made all the running. He put England ahead in the 39th minute, becoming the top goal scorer of the tournament with his sixth strike.

His seventh goal of the event, which is being hosted by India for the first time, came in the second half as it shut the doors on the three-time champions.

The 77th minute strike was third time unlucky for Brazil goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao, who had not let in a goal from open play in the tournament until the last-four clash.

Brazil forwards Paulinho and Lincoln created some slick moves but bad luck and England goalkeeper Curtis Anderson kept the three-time champions at bay.

– Ruiz on song –

Spain’s star striker Ruiz had no such worries as he scored twice in the first half to pack off their opponents and make their fourth final.

The in-form Ruiz found the net in the 19th minute via a penalty and then doubled the lead for the European champions in the 43rd minute.

The Barcelona academy product has six goals — one fewer than Brewster — in the tournament and has been linked to Arsenal and other Premier League sides, as well as Juventus.

Ruiz already has a buyout clause of three million euros on his contract and Barcelona reportedly want to increase that after the World Cup is over.

Ferran Torres also joined the Spanish party in the 71st minute to end matters for Mali, who were earlier denied a goal by the referee after the ball struck the pole and landed inside the goal line.

FIFA, the game’s world governing body, has used goal-line technology in senior events but it was not on offer at the U-17 World Cup.

Mali striker Lassana N’Diaye finished with six goals in the tournament but his 74th-minute strike was a mere consolation for the African champions.

Mali will now face Brazil for the third-place play-off before the final at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium.

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