FIFA U-17 World Cup: England, France qualify; Iraq, Honduras win big

Jadon Sancho celebrates his goal (Image credit-Getty Images)

Kolkata: Tournament favorites England defeated Mexico 3-2 in a thriller at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Wednesday. Goals from Rhian Brewster, Philip Foden and Jadon Sancho helped England to what looked like a comfortable win, but a Mexican comeback in the later half of the match with a wonderful brace from Diego Lainez almost won the match for the men in green.

The match began on an even note as both the teams created chances but were wasteful upfront, before Liverpool FC’s Rhian Brewster broke the deadlock with a wonderful free-kick in the 39th minute sending his shot crashing into the right corner of the net. Philip Foden’s strike doubled the lead for England minutes after the break while Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Jadon Sancho netted his third of the tournament through a penalty in the 57th minute.

When all looked to go England’s way, Lainez, who they call ‘Messi’ in Mexico got his name on the scoresheet in the 65th minute and pulled another goal back in the 72nd minute raising a hope for comeback, but it was not to be and Mexico would rue a flurry of missed opportunities, that could have helped them atleast draw, if not win.

Roberto De La Rosa missed a header from centre of the box and Conor Gallagher’s shot was blocked by the England defenders, bringing an end to an evening if missed chances.

Iraq vs Chile

After a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of England in their first game, Chile faced yet another defeat and this time, it was Iraq, which got the better of the South American side to strengthen their chances of making it to the next round in the competition.

The match didn’t begin well for La Rojita as their regular keeper Julio Borquez, who was shown a red card in the last game was replaced by Rodrigo Cancino, but Mohammad Dawood, a seventeen year-old boy from Baghdad destroyed them with two goals and could have even scored a hat-trick if not for missed penalty.

The West Asian side dominated the  proceedings throughout and it was only after the break that the Chile captain Lucas Alcaron came close to levelling the score but failed to do so. Dawood cannoned a shit in the sixth minute, before doubling Iraq’s lead in the 66th minute through a beautiful free-kick stamping his authority over the match.

Iraq’s third goal came from a deflection off Diego Valencia before Dawood squandered a chance of a getting hat-trick when he failed to convert the penalty ontbheribhands stoppage time.

GROUP E
France vs Japan

After a dominating performance against New Caledonia France raced their way into the knock rounds by beating Japan in a crucial encounter of Group E at the Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium on Wednesday.

Les Bleuets doesn’t look to end scoring and Amine Gouiri their main weapon netted another brace after two goals in the previous match to bring up the win. The Lyon forward could have scored three in the opening nine minutes but failed. He however nutmegged Japan skipper and goalie Kosei Tani in the 13th minute to give  his side a decisive lead.

A wonderful pass from Yacine Adli in the 71st minute saw Gouiri score his fourth goal of the tournament, virtually ending the match for Japan. Although Japan pulled one back two minutes later through Taisei Miyashiro who converted a penalty, the match was all but over for the Samurai Blue. Nakamura who scored the tournament’s first hat-trick looked subdued in the entire match and was duly replaced.

Japan now finds themselves in a do-or-die situation against New Caledonia on Saturday.

Honduras vs New Caledonia

Honduras completely bossed over the debutants New Caledonia in a match which saw them score five past the new comers at the Indira Gandhi stadium on Wednesday. New Caledonia has now conceded 12 goals in just  two matches into the tournament.

Carlos Mejia (25th and 42nd) and Patrick Palacios (51st and 88th) struck scored a brace each while Joshua Canales scored the other goal in the 27th minute. This was also the biggest win for Honduras at the U-17 World Cup since their debut in 2007.

The win not only boosts their confidence ahead of the all important match against France but also keeps them in the contention for the knockout rounds.

Brief Scores:

Group E:
Guwahati – France 2 (A. Gouiri 13′, 71′) beat Japan 1 (T. Miyashiro 73′ (p) )

Honduras 5 (C. Mejia 25′, 42′ J. Hernandez 27′ P. Palacios 51′, 88′) beat New Caledonia 0

Group F:
Kolkata – Engalnd 3 (R. Brewster 39′ P. Foden 48′ J. Sancho 55′ (p) ) beat Mexico 2 (D. Lainez 65′, 72′)

Iraq 3 (M. Dawood 6′,68′ D. Valencia 81′ (OG) ) beat Chile 0

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