Spain scored six in two games after their opening day loss to Brazil before beating France with a 90th minute penalty from Abel Ruiz. A two goal lead at half time meant Mali had to do a lot of work.
There was controversy in this afternoon's Federation Internationale de Football Association U17 World Cup semi-final between Mali and Spain at the Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Ferran Torres then added a third for Spain in the 71st minute to put the result beyond doubt, although Mali did manage a consolation effort three minutes later through a Lassan Ndiaye effort. His volley was spectacularly saved by 'keeper Youssouf Koita. Cesar Gelabert was brought down inside the 18-yard-box by Malian defender Abdoulaye Diaby which led to a penalty kick being awarded to Spain.
Rhian Brewster broke the deadlock in the 10th minute for England when he was picked out inside the area with a neat floated pass from Callum Hudson-Odoi.
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Spain was happy to soak Mali's pressure and in the 33rd minute nearly doubled its tally on the counter when Ruiz's side-footed finish, capping off a slick move from the left flank, missed the right-hand post by a whisker.
It caused moments of confusion on the Mali bench, as coach Jonas Komla and his technical team waited to see whether a fourth official, after watching the replay, might advise the ref that the ball and crossed the line.
Mali have been undefeated in the tournament thus far, and even beat African rivals Ghana in their previous match - just like they did in the finals of the African U-17 Cup of Nations. Mali got a goal back three minutes after Torres' goal, through Lassana N'Diaye.
The final on Saturday means one of Spain or England will become U-17 World Cup champions for the very first time.
Runners-up in 2015 to eventual champions Nigeria, Mali will now play Brazil in a third-place play-off in Kolkata on Saturday, BBC reports.