Thursday, 7 November 2019

FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019: France speed past Joeys to book last-eight date with Spain

Brandon Soppy of France in action against Cameron Peupion of Australia 

France overwhelmed ten-man Australia 4-0 in Goiania on Wednesday to stamp their place with authority in the quarter-finals at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019. Nathaneal Mbuku opened the scoring in the sixth minute and completed his hat-trick with two second-half strikes. The result sets up a tantalising tie against neighbours Spain, another top-performing side at Brazil 2019 thus far, on 11 November in Goiania.

After Mbuku's early tally, France looked content to pull back their attacking energy and cruise. But when Australia's Anton Mlinaric was sent off in the 55th minute, they pounced again. Adil Aouchiche fed Mbuku a cross-field pass, and France’s No19 blasted his left-footed effort well out of reach of goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic in the 74th minute. The two players linked up again in the box eight minutes later for Mbuku’s third, and substitute Enzo Millot capped a stellar second half with his curling goal in the 87th minute.

Cameron Peupion’s bouncing shot from outside the box forced a good save out of Melvin Zinga in the 13th minute, but that was as close as Australia came to scoring. The Joeys remained resolute defensively until Mlinaric was shown a red card for his reckless sliding tackle on Lucien Agoume. From there Australia had to focus almost all their efforts on the defensive end, and the floodgates eventually opened. They remain in search of their first quarter-finals berth since 1999.

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