Striker Keito Nakamura scored the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup's first hat-trick as Japan hammered Honduras 6-1 to begin their campaign on a resounding note at the Indira Gandhi International Stadium in Guwahati on Sunday.
Nakamura found the back of the net in the 22nd, 30th and 43rd minute to give his team an easy victory.
Takefusa Kubo, dubbed the 'Japanese Messi' for his exceptional skills, added a fourth in the 45th minute. Taisei Miyashiro scored the fifth goal (51st) at the start of the second half and Toichi Suzuki scored the sixth (90th) towards the end of the game.
Patrick Palacios reduced the margin for Honduras by scoring in the 90th minute following a corner.
The Japanese dominated the game throughout and never really allowed their opponents to settle down.
Nakamura opened the scoring when he headed in a Kubo cross from a very close range.
The Nakamura-Kubo combination again clicked again eight minutes later as Nakamura's left-footed shot from the centre of the box found the back of the net.
The hat-trick goal was achieved when Nakamura's left-footed attempt off a Soichiro Kozuki through ball hit the target.
It was then the turn of Kubo to enter his name in the score sheet and Nakamura to provide the assist. The script remained pretty much the same in the second half as Japan emerged comfortable winners.
The Japanese reached the quarter-finals in 1993, when they hosted the tournament as debutants. In the 2011 edition, they created a flutter by topping a group that included world football heavyweights Argentina,
France and Jamaica on their way to the quarter-finals.
The Asian nation secured a ticket to India by virtue of an impressive performance in the 2016 AFC Under-16 Championship.
Honduras have managed to regularly qualify for the tournament since 2007. They were knocked out of the first two editions but managed to reach the quarter-finals in 2013.
Iraq hold Mexico 1-1 for their first ever draw
South American champions Mexico were held to a 1-1 draw by Iraq in their opening group match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Kolkata.
The Asian champions Iraq took a surprised lead in the 16th minute through a goal by Mohammed Dawood before Roberto De La Rosa equalised in the 61st minute for Spain as both teams collected one point each from the Group F match.
A sizeable crowd turned up at the brand new Salt Lake Stadium to watch the match. They saw as many as 15 shots from Mexico as against six from Iraq but must be bit disappointed as they could see just two goals.
Mexico completely dominated the proceedings with 63 percent possession but their forwards were wayward as only four shots out of the 15 are on target.
With the draw, their first ever, the war-torn Iraq collected their first points in a FIFA U-17 World Cup. Before this India edition, they had taken part only once in this tournament -- in 2013 in UAE -- and had lost all their three matches.
A win would have created a bigger history for Iraq but they would be happy with the result as Mexico completely dominated the later part of the match even though they could not score more than one goal.
Dawood beat the offside trap and drilled a left footed shot past Mexico goalkeeper in the 16th minute to the surprise of the Salt Lake Stadium crowd.
Iraq managed to keep the lead for 35 minutes after that despite a wave of attacks from the Mexicans. Goalkeeper Ali Ibadi turned out to be the wall whom Mexico could not breach despite repeated attempts.
Daniel Lopez was the architect of the Mexico equaliser as he sent a fine cross from the right which was misread by a Iraqi defender and De La Rosa drilled a low shot into the goal from inside the box.