FIFA Under-17 World Cup: France, England through to pre-quarters with scrappy wins – It was a feast for the eyes as 40,620 people turned out at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata and witnessed the five-goal thriller with England dominating the first one-hour, followed by Mexico’s second-half resurgence.
Arsenal target Amine Gouiri struck a brace as France notched up a 2-1 victory over Japan to secure a pre-quarterfinal berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Wednesday.
Gouiri scored in the 13th and 71st to lift the former champions into the knockouts, while Japan found a consolation goal through Taisei Miyashiro in the 73rd minute at the Indira Gandhi International Stadium. Japan, though, still are in contention from Group E having hammered Honduras 6-1 in their tournament opener.
The first goal came when Gouiri unleashed a right-footer off from the left side of the box off a Maxence Caqueret assist. It was Les Bleuets that caused the Japanese problems in the early stages of the game, with Gouiri being the biggest threat.
The Olympique Lyonnais youngster opened the scoring on the 13th minute, as he sent a shot through the legs of Japan goalkeeper Kosei Tani. Despite falling behind, Japan made their way back into the contest and had created chances.
The best of those opportunities was a free-kick from Keito Nakamura, which took a big deflection off the France wall and flew just wide. At the other end, Caqueret was unlucky not to see a long-range strike hit the target before the break.
The prolific Gouiri would score again just past the midway point of the second half, as he finished off a superb bit of inter-play with Yacine Adli in the Japanese box. The second France goal prompted a reply for Japan, who reduced the deficit through a Taisei Miyashiro penalty. After that, the French held on for a second straight win in the competition
England scrape through
England prevailed over two-time champions Mexico 3-2 to seal a FIFA U-17 World Cup pre-quarterfinal berth with yet another dominating show on Wednesday. It was a feast for the eyes as 40,620 people turned out at the Salt Lake Stadium and witnessed the five-goal thriller with England dominating the first one-hour, followed by Mexico’s second-half resurgence.
After some hits and misses in the first 30 minutes, Liverpool youngster Rhian Brewster curled in a 39th minute free-kick to break the stalemate. Brilliant with his pace and movement, Philip Foden finally found his name in the scoreline when he doubled the lead four minutes after the break, while the Young Lions star player Jadon Sancho earned a penalty and converted it in the 57th minute for his third goal in the tournament.
It seemed a one-way traffic for the English youngsters but El Tri made a sensational comeback with a stunning brace by Diego Lainez (65, 72). But it was not enough for the seven-time defending CONCACAF champions as they suffered their first defeat in the tournament, following their frustating 1-1 draw against Iraq.
England enjoyed a 57 per cent first-half possession but a goal eluded them till the former Chelsea boy converted from the freekick which was earned by Foden. The contest had just picked pace as Callum Hudson-Odoi’s right-footed shot from the left side of the six yard box was saved in the centre of the goal by El Tiri custodian Cesar Lopez.
However, Brewster then sent the ball crashing into the top right corner with a right-footed shot as England went into halftime with 1-0 lead. Mexico looked to equalise in the first-half injury time when an Torres’ right-footed freekick from a difficult angle was saved in the top centre of the goal by England goalkeeper Curtis Anderson.
Manchester United attacking midfielder Angel Gomes came off the bench and made his presence felt within a minute when he along with Sancho set up Foden to make it 2-0. The Manchester City midfielder’s left-footed shot from the centre of the box went to the top right corner as it was yet another dominant show from Steve Cooper’s side, which had routed Chile 4-0 in their group opener three days ago.
There was more misery in store for Mexico as captain Carlos Robles handled the ball inside the box and Dortmund star Sancho converted it without fuss. After Lainez’s back-to-back goals, Mexico missed a couple of attempts to keep England on the tenterhooks.
Alexis Guti rrez produced a close left-footed shot from outside the box in the 77th mintue but missed the target. Roberto De La Rosa then went on to miss a header from the centre of the box, while Conor Gallagher’s right-footed shot was blocked by the English defence.