My focus is on final for now, says Ruiz

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Oct 2017 10:19:12



HE might be one of the brightest youngsters in international football but Spanish striker and skipper Abel Ruiz is not thinking too far ahead and said now he just wants to focus on the finals against England in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
“I am concentrating now only on the final game against England and not on anything else,” said the FC Barcelona junior player after scoring a brace in Spain’s dominant 3-1 semi-final victory over African U-17 champions Mali in the FIFA U-17 World Cup here on Wednesday night.
Ruiz was the fulcrum around which his team rotated as Euro U-17 champions Spain overwhelmed a fighting Mali to emerge a clear winner at the DY Patil Stadium.

He said his idol in the “Beautiful Game” is Uruguay and FC Barcelona senior team’s star striker, Luis Suarez.
Asked if there was any added pressure on him as his team’s spearhead, Ruiz said all he concentrated was on scoring goals to enable his team to win.
“I am under no pressure. All I want to do is to score goals and make my team win,” said the player, who has become the second highest score in the competition.

Looking ahead to the final against England on October 28, Ruiz pointed out that the two teams had fought the Euro championship final too in Croatia and are aware of each other’s style of play.
“We had played against them in the Euro final,” he said.
Spain coach wants in-stadia replays to be scrapped

SPAIN’S head coach Santiago Denia has advocated that the practice of showing in-stadia replays on giant screens be scrapped by the organisers of the FIFA U-17 World Cup after his team triumphed over Mali in semi-final encounter.
Denia made the comments while stating his thoughts about the “ghost goal” of Mali, which was not signalled in by the match officials when Spain were leading 2-0.

“I expected this question. I understand Mali coach (Jonas Komla) is upset and if that (awarding that goal to Mali) would have changed the game or not is not easy to say. We were playing a good match (in dominant position) at that point of time,” said Denia.

“From the Spanish team’s point of view, we need to respect the referee. It’s not an easy job. One thing which should be considered (by the organisers) is not to repeat replays of matches on the big scoreboard (inside the stadium). I suggest replays should not be shown as it can influence the referees or people in the stadium towards the referee,” Denia remarked on the issue.

A 40-yard pile-driver by Cheick Omar Doucoure flew past Spanish goalie Alvaro Fernandez to hit the underside of the cross bar, bounce on the ground before coming back into play which was headed out. But the ball seemed to have bounced inside the goal before rebounding into play, with the assistant referee not signalling it in as a legitimate goal.
Even as play continued the Mali bench rose as a whole to protest, after seeing the in-stadia replay, and after continuous shouting caught the attention of referee Ryuji Sato of Japan who, after remonstrating with the Mali bench, showed the yellow card to one of the support staff members for repeated back-chatting.

Although disappointed, Mali coach Komla did not want to openly criticise the match officials for disallowing what they felt was a legitimate goal at a time when they were battling hard to bounce back.
“I can’t say anything about referee what he did, but that’s what football is. May be that (goal signalled in) would have given us a little bit of luck as after that there was enough time to score more goals. But Spain did play well and were on the merit list to win the game,” said Komla on the controversy.

Spanish coach Denia said the pace of the game influenced his team’s style of play.
“We scored the first goal and had to step forward. There were lots of space behind Mali defenders and we had to take advantage of that. If I have to choose I will want to play the ball (keep it in possession), but sometimes situations dictates what to do.

“The idea was to avoid transitions (change of playing style) as they take away your energy, but sometimes the pace of the game dictates how you play. The (original) idea was to keep the ball (in possession), but if you could not do that then you have to play the transition, with caution,” he said.
“Spain likes to play the passing game but if situation demands we would play the transition, but carefully.”
He also conceded that the team’s defense has to perform better in the final against their Euro rivals England in Kolkata on October 28.

“Today Mali was very strong and was playing well. We need to improve our defense collectively, not individually, and that’s my job ahead of the final. We do have to prepare. We know we have beaten them in the final of the Euro in Croatia. England has improved and we need to improve on things we did today,” he said about what lay ahead of the Spanish armada.