France, England and Japan kicked off their FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 campaigns with a bang on the third day of the competition, which served up no fewer than 21 goals.
NEW CALEDONIA 1-7 FRANCE
France got their FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 campaign off to an emphatic start with a 7-1 victory over their French overseas territory cousins New Caledonia, who were making their debut at a FIFA tournament in Guwahati on Sunday.
It was Les Bleuets that dominated the first-half proceedings, as they raced out to a six-goal lead before the break. An early Bernard Iwa own-goal was followed by Amine Gouiri’s first of two goals in the half at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Claudio Gomes made it 3-0 to the French before Gouiri struck again three minutes later. Maxence Caqueret made it five goals for the European outfit on 40 minutes before a Kiam Wanesse own-goal rounded off the scoring in the opening 45 minutes.
The second half saw New Caledonia goalkeeper Une Kecine produce a series of fine stops to deny France on several occasions. This included an excellent penalty save from Caqueret just after the break.
However, there would be more goals in stoppage time, with the Oceania side claiming a first-ever goal in a FIFA competition from Sidri Wadenges before substitute Wilson Isidor replied for France at the other end.
CHILE 0-4 ENGLAND
Jadon Sancho’s second-half brace and a late goal from substitute Angel Gomes helped England to a 4-0 win over Chile in Group F.
The South American runners-up were seldom in the match against their European counterparts, and they fell behind in just the fifth minute after Sancho beat two defenders and set up Callum Hudson-Odoi all alone in front of the goalkeeper.
Despite a host of dangerous opportunities through the first half, the Three Lions had to wait until after the break to double their advantage. Borussia Dortmund winger Sancho was in the right place to turn goalscorer in the 51st minute, tapping in from close range after Chile failed to clear a cross from the right.
After a lovely run by George McEachran set up Sancho for his second, Chilean goalkeeper Julio Borquez’s night went from bad to worse, as he was sent off for denying Rhian Brewster a clear goalscoring opportunity well outside his box.
Second-half substitute Angel Gomes curled the resulting free-kick past midfielder Branco Provoste, who was forced to deputise in goal for 10-man Chile after they had already used their three substitutions.
HONDURAS 1-6 JAPAN
Keito Nakamura wrote his name into the history books, with the first hat-trick of the 2017 Under-17 World Cup, helping Japan start their campaign with a 6-1 win against Honduras.
Showing skill and technical ability, Japan proved too difficult to handle for the Hondurans in Guwahati, with Nakamura scoring the first of his three first-half goals with a powerful header from Takefusa Kubo’s corner near the midway point of the half.
Nakamura then doubled Japan’s advantage with a neat dribble and finish on the half-hour mark before Honduras replied six minutes later through Patrick Palacios. Nakamura completed his hat-trick on 43 minutes before Kubo made it 4-1 to the Samurai Blue just before the half-time whistle.
Any hopes that Honduras had of a comeback were ended shortly after the break, as Taisei Miyashiro scored a fifth Japanese goal before Toichi Suzuki added a sixth to ensure all three points went to the Asian outfit.
IRAQ 1-1 MEXICO
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 on Sunday.
Full of pace and seemingly endless stamina up front, Mohammed Dawood spearheaded the Iraqi counter-attacking game plan, and he found himself in on goal more than a few times in the match. It was the lone striker who opened the scoring in the 16th minute on a typically incisive breakaway.
In the second half, Mexico took more control and got their reward six minutes after the break by taking advantage of an Iraqi error. It was Daniel Lopez who caused the chaos with a nicely weighted cross, and Roberto de la Rosa who took advantage of Abdulabbas Ayad’s miscued clearance.
Dawood continued to be a thorn in Mexico’s side, but it was Diego Lainez who went closest in the late stages – forcing the best from goalkeeper Ali Ibad and just missing the target a few minutes before the end.
This article is written by Shantanu Ambekar, you can follow him on Twitter at @ShantanuAmbekar. What are your thoughts? Let us know by dropping a comment via our comments box below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Google+, Instagram and like us on Facebook.