Guwahati: European powerhouse 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 match on Saturday.
France had already booked a Round of 16 berth before Saturday's game but they now go into the knock-out stage with an all-win record (nine points) in Group E.
They will face Group D runners-up Spain – European qualifying tournament winners – in their Round of 16 match in Guwahati on 17 October.
Despite the loss, Honduras also qualified for the knock- outs as one of the four best third-placed teams. They finished third in the group with three points.
Japan finished second in the group with four points after being held by minnows New Caledonia in another match in Kolkata. New Caledonia finished last in the group with one point and were eliminated.
France dominated the exchanges with 66 percent possession and had 10 shots on target as compared to just three by Honduras.
Honduras took a surprise lead in the 10th minute through Carlos Mejia but France rallied and then outplayed the Central American rivals with five goals, three of them coming in the second half.
Alexis Flips struck twice in the 23rd and 64th minutes while Wilson Isidor (14th), Amine Gouiri (86th) and Yacine Adli (90+6) were the other France scorers.
With his fifth goal in three matches, Gouiri maintained his status as the top scorer of the tournament so far.
France had a shot at the Honduras goal as early as the third minute but Isidor's right footed shot from the left side of the box was saved by the goalie.
It was Honduras who took the lead in the 10th minute as Mejia's left-footed shot from a difficult angle found the back of the France net.
France equalised in a matter of four minutes when Isidor shot home from the centre of the box after Alan Kerouedan sent him on the clear with a fine through ball.
Honduras had two shots at the France goal, one by Mejia in the 20th minute and then by Axel Gomez one minute later but those did not result in any goal.
Flips gave the lead to France in the 23rd minute as he beat Honduras goalkeeper with a shot from the centre of the box.
France continued their domination in the second session and a Willem Geubbels' shot hit the left post in the 55th minute.
Next minute, Flips could not beat the Honduras goalkeeper but in the 64th minute, he was not to be denied his due as his right-footed shot from a very close range hit the top right corner of the net.
France scored two goals towards the end of the match with star striker Gouiri adding his name in the scoresheet six minutes from regulation time for his fifth goal in three matches – the highest in the tournament so far.
Six minutes were added as injury time and from the last kick of the match Adli scored with brilliant free-kick from just outside the center edge of the box.
Published Date: Oct 14, 2017 09:25 pm | Updated Date: Oct 14, 2017 09:25 pm