FIFA U-17 World Cup: France crush Honduras 5-1, to face Spain in Round of 16
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FIFA U-17 World Cup: France crush Honduras 5-1, to face Spain in Round of 16

France rallied from a goal down to hand a 5-1 drubbing on Honduras and qualify for the knock-out stage as group toppers in the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Saturday.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 14, 2017 23:21 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,France vs Honduras
France thrashed Honduras 5-1 in a Group E match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Saturday. (PTI)

Carlos Mejia, who suffered knee injury twice before arriving in India, lived up to his reputation as a star back home to draw first blood for Honduras in their last Group E match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup against France at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Saturday.

But that was the trigger for France, testing their bench strength before the pre-quarterfinal battle, to step up and fire five past an often hapless Honduran goalkeeper Alex Rivera, winning 5-1.

France took the field without nine players who were in the line-up that defeated Japan 2-1 on Wednesday for a Round of 16 berth. The pressure was perhaps the most on midfielder Alexis Flips, included in place of leading scorer Amine Gouiri.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Japan draw 1-1 with New Caledonia, qualify for Round of 16)

Early strike

Flips opened up after midfielder Wilson Isidor took barely four minutes to equalise for Les Bleuets after Mejia had Honduras up 1-0 in the 10th minute.

At half-time, the score read 2-1 in France’s favour with Flips having scored the first of his two goals, off a cross from Isidor in the 23rd minute. He scored again around 20 minutes after the breather from a Claudio Gomes assist.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Guinea gone for now, promise plenty in the future)

The Hondurans tested the French defence a couple of times towards the end of the second half. But an 86th minute goal by Gouiri, on as a substitute for Isidor, had them deflated.

Gouiri’s fifth goal

It was Gouiri’s fifth goal of the tournament, having scored twice against New Caledonia and France in the earlier matches of the group.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Already qualified, Brazil ease past Niger in final group game)

That wasn’t the end of the misery for Honduras. Yacine Adli, substituting for Alan Keruoedan, swerved a free-kick home during the six minutes of stoppage time.

France ended Group E leaders with nine points from three matches and are scheduled to face Spain in their Round of 16 match in Guwahati on October 17.

The defeat, though, did not prevent Honduras from advancing to the knockout stages thanks to New Caledonia holding Japan 1-1 in Kolkata.

Japan, ironically, had walloped Honduras 6-1 in their opening group E encounter.

The Central Americans will meet South American champions Brazil in the pre-quarterfinal match scheduled in Kochi on October 18.

First Published: Oct 14, 2017 20:04 IST