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Croatia, England take last U-17 World Cup spots

Croatia and England filled the last two UEFA places at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, defeating Italy and Spain respectively in their play-off matches in Bulgaria.

Croatia celebrate their victory and a place in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup
Croatia celebrate their victory and a place in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup ©LAP.bg

2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup play-offs

Croatia 1-0 Italy
Croatia took the lead after ten minutes in Sozopol, captain Nikola Moro capitalising on a slip by defender Alessandro Mattioli, calmly rounding keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and rolling the ball into the net. Dario Bašić's team continued to fashion chances, but Donnarumma stood tall and kept the Azzurrini in the game. Needing a goal, Italy coach Bruno Tedino introduced powerful forward Ginaluca Scamacca and Luca Matarese, the latter being thwarted by Adrian Šemper with two minutes remaining.

Spain 0-0 England (England win 5-3 on penalties)
Defeated on penalties by Germany in the quarter-finals, Spain endured spot-kick heartbreak for the second time in four days. After struggling to turn their dominance of possession into clear-cut chances, they again paid the price. England's Will Huffer – who had replaced the injured Paul Woolston with two minutes left – made the only save of the shoot-out in Sliven, denying Dani Olmo.

The 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, held in Chile, will feature 24 nations and run from 17 October to 8 November. Belgium, France, Germany and Russia had qualified by directly by reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship.