FIFA U-17 World Cup (Day 6): Young Lions seal knockout round spot and France edge Japan in thriller

Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden, George McEachran and Callum Hudson-Odoi are the central figures in a 4-2-3-1 formation. (Source: AP)
England Vs. Mexico :-
 
There was never any doubt that the Young Lions were deserved winners, to make it two wins from two games in their group, but they certainly experienced some of the pitfalls of World Cup football along the way.
 
A stunning free-kick from Rhian Brewster had given Steve Cooper’s side a half-time advantage before Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho added a quickfire double after the break as England seemed set to cruise to victory.
 
But when Mexico responded with a double salvo of their own through the impressive Diego Lainez, the Young Lions had to show their character and discipline as the Central Americans threw everything at it in a bid to keep their own World Cup dreams alive.
 
It wasn’t to be for them though, and England now head into Saturday’s final group match with Iraq knowing they are guaranteed a minimum of second spot in their group and a place in the first knockout round.
 
Brewster broke the deadlock six minutes before the break though, making amends for his earlier miss with a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards.
 
And within ten minutes of the restart, England appeared to have victory wrapped-up with two quick goals.
 
Foden was first as he opened his World Cup account with a calm finish in the box, after substitute Angel Gomes and Sancho had linked-up superbly together to provide the Manchester City ace with his chance.
 
Mexico found their lifeline just after the hour mark, when Lainez nicked the ball in midfield before seeing his speculative shot take a big deflection off the chest of Joel Latibeaudiere to creep past Curtis Anderson and set up their hope of a comeback.
 
When Lainez added a second goal seven minutes later with a well-placed left footer, England had a few questions to answer in the dying stages.
 
The Young Lions were hanging on, and Mexico had an even greater chance to equalise when Roberto de la Rosa guided a free header over the bar from six yards out.
 
And Timothy Eyoma made a great block in the dying stages as Raul Sandoval’s volley struck the Spurs defender seconds before the final whistle.
 
But for England, those lessons will be learnt and focus will already be turning to their next clash with Iraq.
 
France Vs. Japan :-
 
The mini-Blues confirmed their excellent debut of the U17 World Cup by placing Japan (2-1) on Wednesday at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. They had crushed New Caledonia 7-1 in Sunday in their opening game  but the Japanese had done almost the same against Honduras 6-1.
 
As was the case against the New Caledonians, Amine Gouiri again offered a double. In the 13th minute, the Lyon striker opened the scoring after a magnificent deep pass by Maxence Caqueret, his team-mate in the club. The construction of the second (71st) is brilliant: he made a double one-two with Parisian Yacine Adli to score a cross.
 
The French thought to be safe, but the Japanese did not give up: they narrowed the penalty throw in the 73rd minute. They had monopolized the ball in the last minutes, the French receded, had a good opportuity of against (89th), but they did not yield to win and to qualify in the round of 16. They will finish their group stage against Honduras on Saturday.

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