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France beat Japan 2-1, enter pre-quarters

Guwahati : Arsenal target Amine Gouiri struck a brace as France notched up a 2-1 victory over Japan to secure a pre-quarterfinal berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup here today. Gouiri scored in the 13th and 71st minutes to lift the former champions into the knockouts, while Japan found a consolation goal through Taisei Miyashiro in the 73rd minute at the Indira Gandhi International Stadium. Japan, though, are still in contention from Group E, having hammered Honduras 6-1 in their tournament opener. The first goal came when Gouiri unleashed a right-footer from the left side of the box, and the ball went through the legs of Japan goalkeeper Kosei Tani. After falling behind, Japan did well to create several chances, the best of those opportunities being a free-kick from Keito Nakamura that flew just wide. Nevertheless, France went into halftime keeping their lead intact.
The prolific Gouiri scored again just past the midway point in the second half, as he finished off a superb bit of inter-play with Yacine Adli in the Japanese box. The second goal prompted a counterattack from Japan, and Taisei Miyashiro reduced the deficit through a penalty. France, however, managed to hold on to their slender lead until the referee blew the final whistle.
Iraq blank Chile 3-0
Kolkata: Iraq rode on Mohammed Dawood’s brace to record a 3-0 win over Chile here on Wednesday. Dawood scored in the sixth and 68th minutes with Chile’s Diego Valencia putting the ball in his own net in the 81st minute to cap off a brilliant display by the Asian U-16 champions. Dawood missed a glorious chance to score a hat-trick in the second-half stoppage time as his penalty was saved. — Agencies
England pip Mexico 3-2 to seal last-16 berth
Kolkata: England prevailed over two-time champions Mexico 3-2 to seal a FIFA U-17 World Cup pre-quarterfinal berth with yet another dominating show here today. It was a feast for the eyes as 40,620 people turned out at the Salt Lake Stadium and witnessed the five-goal thriller with England dominating the first hour, followed by Mexico’s second-half resurgence. After some hits and misses in the first 30 minutes, Liverpool youngster Rhian Brewster curled in a 39th minute free-kick to break the stalemate. Brilliant with his pace and movement, Philip Foden finally found his name on the scoresheet when he doubled the lead four minutes after the break, while the Young Lions star player Jadon Sancho earned a penalty and converted it in the 57th minute for his third goal in the tournament. It seemed a one-way traffic for the English youngsters but El Tri made a sensational comeback with a stunning brace by Diego Lainez (65, 72). But it was not enough for the seven-time defending CONCACAF champions as they suffered their first defeat in the tournament, following their frustrating 1-1 draw against Iraq. “It’s a luxury to qualify after two games. But we are not thinking past the group stage yet. We have to show respect to our next opposition by recovering and putting on a good show again,” said England coach Steve Cooper. “Today was a difficult game as well. It shows quality and strength. We showed that in abundance tonight. We are ready to recover and play the next game. We are a team. I’m pleased with the performance, no doubt about that.”

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