Tuesday, 12 November 2019

FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019: France net six against Spain, soar into last four

Timothee Pembele of France celebrates after scoring against Spain - FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019

France rallied and defeated Spain soundly 6-1 in a statement victory in the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™ on Monday. It was the Spanish who opened the scoring in the ninth minute when captain German Valera steered in an accurate, left-footed shot from the top of the penalty area into the bottom corner. However, it was all France from there on out in Goiania, with Les Bleuets proving very effective, particularly via set pieces. France will await the winner of Italy versus Brazil, the tournament's last quarter-final tie.

Behind for just 12 minutes, Nianzou Kouassi equalised for France in the 21st minute with a powerful header at the back post from a corner kick. Then the red-hot Nathanael Mbuku, who scored a hat-trick against Australia in the Round of 16, gave his side the lead after he timed his run perfectly to tap in from close range and cap off an enthralling half. Beginning to impose themselves on the match, France ran away with the tie in the first quarter hour of the second half, scoring three times through Isaac Lihadji, Timothee Pembele and Georginio Rutter. Adil Aouchiche put the icing on the cake in stoppage time to ensure it was France's biggest win of the tournament.

La Rojita looked up to the task at the outset of the encounter, and Valera's opening goal energised his side early in the first half. But gradually France began to take control from the midfield, and Spain's defence on set pieces proved their undoing. Three times they conceded off corner kicks, unable to track runs towards the far post. Goalkeeper Ivan Martinez made a pair of one-on-one saves in the second half, preventing an even harsher final score. Four-time runners-up at this tournament, it will be at least two more years until Spain get another shot at lifting the trophy.


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