February 2018
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Mexico draw with Iraq, England, France, Japan record big wins
(New Delhi, Oct 08, 2017): European heavyweights France and England registered comfortable wins in their respective opening group matches of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup on Sunday.At the sparsely utilised but revamped Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, pre-tournament favourties France humiliated tournament debutants New Caledonia 7-1 in their Group E opener.

France showed no mercy on their overseas territory cousins, pumping goals at will with six of those coming in the first half itself. And leading the scoring charts was Amine Gouiri, who is being hailed as the new big thing in France football.New Caledonia defender Bernard Iwa opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute of the match with an own-goal. Then, Les Bleus took over with Gouiri scoring twice in a space of four minutes - in the 19' and 33'. He was the top scorer in U-17 Euros with eight goals in Croatia in May early this year.Claudio Gomes (30'), Maxence Caqueret (40') and Wilson Isidor (90+1') also found the back of the net.For the losing side, Iwa was not the only player to find his name on the scoresheet. Kiam Wanesse also scored an own-goal in the 43rd minute to help swell France's lead to 6-0 at the break.

The minnows did well not to concede more goals in the next 45 minutes. In fact, they managed to score a goal in that period with Sidri Wadenges beating Yahia Fofana in the 90th minute for a solitary strike. But then, France responded with another goal, in the added time.The scoreline, however, failed to tell the exact story of the match. It was one of the most lopsided matches ever in the history of any World Cup.

France enjoyed 72 percent possession and had 31 attempts on the goal with 17 of those hitting the target. Somehow, after taking a 6-0 lead in the first-half, they played at a leisurely pace, sparing their overseas territory cousins further embarrassment.In contrast, New Caledonia managed five attempts, with two hitting the target, and one finding the back of the net.In their next group matches, France will take on Japan while on New Caledonia play Honduras Wednesday (October 11) in Guwahati.

France were the last team to qualify from Europe, but they have come prepared. Following their first appearance in 1984, France have reached the quarter-finals twice in 2007 and 2011.In another early kick-off, England thrashed South American powerhouse Chile 4-0 in their Group F match at the historic Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.

Once regarded as one of the biggest stadiums in the world with an official capacity 120,000, the VYBK — the stadium is officially known as Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, so thus the acronym – was all decked up for the match. Kolkata fans waited for a thrilling encounter, but a disciplined effort from England meant that the encounter ended as one one-sided affair against a 10-man Chilean side.

Callum Hudson-Odoi opened the scoring in the fifth minute to give England just the perfect start their campaign. But it was Jadon Sancho, who stole the show with two goals and a set-up. The 17-year-old is one of the brightest young stars in world football today. He was fast-tracked to join German giants Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City, and has been given the jersey no. 7 vacated by Ousmane Dembele.

The Manchester City youth product was the star of the match, but a different awaited Chile goal-keeper Julio Borquez. He became the first player to be shown a straight red card in the tournament. Japanese referee Ryuji Sato had no hesitation sending off Borquez in the 79th minute for denying England's Liverpool starlet Rhian Brewster a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Guinea's Cherif Camara became the first player to be sent-off during their 1-3 defeat to Iran in a Group C match yesterday in Goa.After Borquez's send-off, Chile placed midfielder Branco Provoste under the bar for the remainder of the match as the hosts of 2015 edition had already used their three substitutions.Angel Gomes, who replaced Hudson-Odoi in the 67th minute, increased the lead to 4-0 with a 81' goal. The Manchester United player produced a classic free-kick to beat Provoste.

England dominated every aspect of the game. Their 21 attempts, with nine on-target, on the goal was helped by a 64 percent possession. Chile had four attempts with none hitting the target.
England are looking for their first major international trophy. They were eliminated in the previous edition, and in 2011, they reached the quarterfinal in Mexico.Chile face Iraq while England take on Mexico in next their respective group games on Wednesday (October 11).

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