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FIFA U-17 World Cup: France beat Japan to enter pre-quarterfinals

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.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 11, 2017 20:55 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,France vs Japan
Riding on Amine Gouiri’s brilliance, France beat Japan 2-1 in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. (AP)

France re-established their dominance over Japan in the FIFA U-17 World Cup riding Amine Gouiri’s brace to win 2-1 in their crucial Group-E encounter at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Wednesday.

Gouiri, taking off from where he had left in France’s group opener versus New Caledonia, came close to scoring thrice within nine minutes of play. The Algeria-born Olympique Lyonnais player converted his fourth opportunity by nutmegging Japan skipper and goalkeeper Kosei Tani in the 13th minute.

It was the centre-forward’s third tournament goal after his brace that had deflated New Caledonia. He scored his fourth – the second of the match after a bit of inter play with Yacine Adli in the Japanese box – in the 71st minute to virtually snatch the game from Japan.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: New Zealand, Mali take contrasting approaches ahead of clash)

Japan pulled one back two minutes later when Taisei Miyashiro converted a penalty after Hiroto Yamada, replacing a somewhat subdued Nakamura a few minutes ago, was brought down in the box.

Led by skipper Claudio Gomes, the Les Bleus defenders kept a check on Takefusa Kubo --- often referred to as the Japanese Mess --- too. Japan tried to increase their pace in the second half, but the French proved to be faster and made the most with short bursts of possession throughout the match.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil’s versatility shines in wins over Spain, North Korea)

The best of Japan’s opportunities came when Nakamura’s free-kick deflected off the France wall and missed the net by a whisker. For France, strikers Maxence Caqueret and Lenny Pintor created much of the chances to help Gouiri convert two of them.

Caqueret was unlucky not to have his name on the scorecard when his long-range strike before the break flew just wide. Caqueret and Pintor though earned a yellow card each as did midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni. Pintor, Gouiri and Tchouameni were substituted towards the fag end of the game.

Japan’s defenders Hinata Kida and Yuki Kobayashi were yellow-carded as well. France meet Honduras in their last Group E match in Guwahati on Saturday. Japan and New Caledonia are scheduled to fly to Kolkata for their last group encounter on the same day.

First Published: Oct 11, 2017 20:55 IST