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Rediff.com  » Sports » U-17 World Cup: France, England post big wins; Japan and Mexico advance

U-17 World Cup: France, England post big wins; Japan and Mexico advance

Last updated on: October 14, 2017 22:44 IST

Switzerland's Esther Staubli became the first female referee in the tournament's history after overseeing the New Caledonia vs Japan match in Kolkata.

A round-up of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup matches played on Saturday:

France drub Honduras 5-1

IMAGE: France's Alexis Flips celebrates after scoring a goal against Honduras. Photograph: PTI

European powerhouse France rallied from a goal down to hand a 5-1 drubbing on Honduras and qualify for the knockout stage as group toppers in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Guwahati, on Saturday.

France had already booked a Round of 16 berth before this game but they now go into the knockout stage with an all-win record with nine points in Group E.

They will face Group D runners-up Spain -- European qualifying tournament winners -- in their Round of 16 match in Guwahati on October 17.

Despite the loss, Honduras also qualified for the knockouts as one of the four best third-placed teams. They finished third in the group with three points.

Japan finished second in the group with four points after being held by minnows New Caledonia in another match in Kolkata. New Caledonia finished last in the group with one point and were eliminated.

France dominated the exchanges with 66 per cent possession and had 10 shots on target as compared to just three by Honduras.

Honduras took a surprise lead in the 10th minute through Carlos Mejia but France rallied and then outplayed the Central American rivals with five goals, three of them coming in the
second half.

Alexis Flips struck twice in the 23rd and 64th minutes while Wilson Isidor (14th), Amine Gouiri (86th) and Yacine Adli (90+6) were the other France scorers.

With his fifth goal in three matches, Gouiri maintained his status as the top scorer of the tournament so far.

France had a shot at the Honduras goal as early as the third minute but Isidor's right footed shot from the left side of the box was saved by the goalie.

It was Honduras who took the lead in the 10th minute as Mejia's left-footed shot from a difficult angle found the back of the France net.

France equalised in a matter of four minutes when Isidor shot home from the centre of the box after Alan Kerouedan sent him on the clear with a fine through ball.

Honduras had two shots at the France goal, one by Mejia in the 20th minute and then by Axel Gomez one minute later but those did not result in any goal.

Flips gave the lead to France in the 23rd minute as he beat Honduras goalkeeper with a shot from the centre of the box.

France continued their domination in the second session and a Willem Geubbels' shot hit the left post in the 55th minute.

France scored two goals towards the end of the match with star striker Gouiri adding his name in the scoresheet six minutes from regulation time for his fifth goal in three matches -- the highest in the tournament so far.

Six minutes were added as injury time and from the last kick of the match Adli scored with brilliant free-kick from just outside the center edge of the box.

England blank Iraq 4-0

IMAGE: England's Nya Kirby, left, tries to get the ball past Moamel Kareem of Iraq. Photograph: PTI

England colts continued their domination crushing Iraq 4-0 in their final group F league encounter to set up a pre-quarterfinal date with Japan in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, in Kolkata.

Having won all their three matches, the Young Lions topped group F with nine points while the Lions of Mesopotamia in their second World Cup appearance also qualified for the last-16 by finishing second with four points.

Iraq will lock horns against Mali in their first ever Under-17 World cup pre-quarterfinal appearance in Goa on October 17 while England and Japan will square off in Kolkata.

Having held to a goalless draw by Chile in Guwahati, two-time champions Mexico finished third with two points, while Chile made exit with a single point.

Starting for the first time and with the captain's arm-band, Manchester United junior Angel Gomes put the team ahead in the 11th minute while Arsenal graduate Emile Smith-Rowe
doubled the lead (59th) on his World Cup debut in front of a 56,373 turnout at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Having missed Mohammed Dawood flair all through the first half, Iraq finally brought on their leading scorer in the 47th minute but it hardly helped their cause as England sealed the
issue with Daniel Loader (59th and 71st) scoring twice in a space of 12 minutes.

A minute after his inclusion, Dawood had a crack at the goal but his right-footed attempt from the centre of the box went too high.

To add to their woes, England toyed with the Iraq defence as the Arsenal attacking midfielder, Rowe, opened his account with Gomes setting him up with a clinical through ball.

In the space of two minutes, Loader fired in from the centre of the box after being nicely set up by Steven Sessegnon.

The Fulham defender also helped Loader complete the brace as the Reading youngster sent the ball crashing into the bottom left corner with a powerful rightfooter.

There was more misery in store as the Iraq star player Dawood was shown a yellow card in the 62nd minute as the Asian champions will miss him in their next match because of a double booking.

Leading from the front, the Manchester United prodigy put the Young Lions ahead in the 11th minute from a very close range after Daniel Loader failed to capitalise a Nya Kirby cross.

Both teams started off with a 4-5-1 formation and in surprising move Iraq coach Qahtan Chitheer opted to bench their leading goalscorer Dawood, a move that seemed to have backfired.

Iraq missed Dawood up front as they failed to finish in a number of attacks and should give credit to their goalkeeper Ali Ibadi to thwart Jadon Sancho's 25th minute penalty.

Japan advance despite draw

IMAGE: Referee Esther Staubli, the first female referee to officiate a match at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, shows the yellow card to a player. Photograph: PTI

East Asian powerhouse Japan were held to a 1-1 draw by a spirited New Caledonia but scraped through to the pre-quarterifinals from Group E in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Kolkata.

Keito Nakamura dribbled his way past the New Caledonia defence from the right to score for Japan in the seventh minute for his fourth goal in three matches.

It looked like a walk in the park for the Japanese who toyed the U-17 World Cup debutants but it was not to be and Japan survived a second-half scare with New Caledonia making
some incisive second-half raids.

That led to the equaliser by captain Jekob Jeno, who scored in the 83rd minute to earn a historic point for New Caledonia in their first U-17 World Cup appearance.

It was also the second U-17 World Cup goal for New Caledonia who scored their first goal of the tournament through Sidri Wadenges in their 1-7 defeat against France.

The draw, however, was enough for the 'Blue Samurai' juniors to seal a fourth pre-quarterfinal, for the first time since Mexico-2013 -- in their eighth Under-17 World Cup appearances.

Japan finished second behind France (nine points) with four points in Group E.

IMAGE: New Caledonia midfielder Jekob Jeno, second right, scores a goal to equalise the score against Japan. Photograph: PTI

New Caledonia, who were eliminated, will return home with some pride after leaking 12 goals from two matches.

Making nine changes in their starting line-up, Japan almost took a second minute lead when Naoki Tsubaki's right-footer from the left side of the six-yard box missed the target.

In the 34th minute, Nakamura's right footed shot from the centre of the box was blocked by Pierre Bako, while in the 42nd minute his shot from the centre of the box was again
blocked.

The Oceania qualifiers seemed lucky and must thank the woodwork for conceding just one goal at the break.

Akito Tanahashi's shot hit the upright and again late in the first-half Japan were denied a goal when Taichi Yamasaki's header from the centre of the box hit the right post.

Japan enjoyed a 69 per cent ball possession in the first-half but could not add up to their goal tally.     

New Caledonia had their first attempt at the goal by Theo Bosshard in the 31st minute but only to miss an open net in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Togo Umeda who made his
U-17 World Cup debut.

New Caledonia almost scored in the 82nd minute when Vita Longue's left-footer from a Neil Wahiobe assist missed the far post by a few inches as they made some inroads into the Japan box with a late surge.

A minute later, Jeno headed home from a very close range to the bottom left corner of the net after being set up by Bako with a headed pass following a corner as New Caledonia
return home with their heads held high.

Mexico qualify for round of 16

Two-time champions Mexico played out a goalless draw in a high-intensity Group F final game but that was enough for them to qualify for the knockout stage of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Guwahati.

Mexico ended their their group engagements with just two points with two draws and finished third in Group F, behind England and Iraq. They still qualified for the round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

They had drawn with Iraq 1-1 in their campaign opener before losing to England 2-3 in their second group match.

The Central American champions are the only side in this edition to qualify for the knockout round without a win.

Chile, on the other hand, crashed out of the tournament with just a point from the draw. They had lost to England 0-4 and to Iraq 0-3 in their earlier two matches to finish last in the four-team group.

The South Americans needed a win to advance to the round of 16 but they had very few shots at the Mexico goal and they were mostly defending their citadel for most part of the
match, which ended as the first goal-less draw of the group stage of the tournament.

Mexico had majority of the ball possession with 69 percent with eight shots on target against one for Chile in the match played at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium.

Jairo Torres and Roberto de la Rosa were in the thick of things in most of Mexico attacks but Chile's star goalkeeper Julio Borquez foiled their attempts several times.

De la Rosa saw a shot from him being saved by Borquez in the 20th minute. Borquez was upto the task in the 24th minute off a shot from Diego Lainez and two minutes later he pulled
off another save from a shot by Luis Olivas.

In the second half also, Borquez made a series of saves including the one from Torres late in the match.

Mexico got their best chance in the injury time and could have won the match but for the crossbar.

In search of a goal, all of Chile's 11 players, including the goalkeeper Borquez, pressed into attacking. But Borquez lost the ball well outside the box and Mexico's De La Rosa had
all the time to slot the ball home but he hit the crossbar.

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