KOLKATA:  The quality of play on the pitch, the record-breaking crowds in the stadiums and the importance of the competition for the future of Indian football have been hailed after the completion of the group stage by FIFA and organising directors.

Branimir Ujevic, FIFA head of coaching and player development who head the technical study group at India 2017 said:  “Credit to the Indian people.

“It has been a great World Cup. The football atmosphere has been really fantastic. On your way to the stadium you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re going to Old Trafford or the Bernabeu or a place like that.”

His comments were echoed by Javier Ceppi, director of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 LOC.

Ceppi said:  “There have been historic crowds, a potential record for a youth tournament. We have crossed the 800,000 spectator mark, already almost double what Chile 2015 had for that complete tournament. The average per match is almost 23,000, and the Indian matches had 49,000 average spectators, which is huge.”

Knockout stage, second round:

Monday: Colombia v Germany; Paraguay v United States.

Tuesday: England v Japan; Mali v Iraq; France v Spain; Iran v Mexico.

Wednesday: Brazil v Honduras; Ghana v Nigeria.