France U17 advance to Round of 16 after squeezing past Japan U17 in a steady encounter

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A brace from Amine Gouiri helped France squeeze past their Group E opponents Japan 2-1 in their second game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati.

France ensured their progression into the Round of 16 of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup after defeating Japan 2-1. Amine Gouiri (13′ and 71′) scored a brace for the French but Taisei Miyashiro’s (74′ Pen.) spot kick was not enough for the Asian giants.

Amine Gouiri opened the scoring thirteen minutes into kick-off to give France the lead before scoring again in the seventy-first minute to double France’s lead. Taisei Miyashiro soon converted a spot kick to score Japan’s only game in the match.

Paris Saint Germain product Yacine Adli joined forces with Lenny Pintor to wreck havoc on the flanks and sent Gouiri clear on the final third three times in the opening few minutes, only for the forward to miss.

The next French wonderkid Amine Gouiri, touted to be Griezmann’s successor, scored the first real goal for Les Bleueta when he slotted home from a brilliant right-footed shot towards the top corner of the net from close range with Maxence Caqueret delivering the assist.

Though Japan had the lion’s share of possession, the Blue Samurais were unable to chase down spaces in the final third and could never conjure up a decent attack in the first half.

The ‘Adrien Rabiot doppelganger’ Adli missed a sitter on the half-hour mark when he controlled Pintor’s square pass well inside the box but launched the ball into orbit with only the keeper to beat.

Despite falling behind, Japan created chances, with the best of those opportunities being a free-kick from Keito Nakamura, who had scored a hat-trick in Japan’s opening match of the tournament, which took a big deflection off the French wall and flew just wide. He was soon taken off after squandering the free-kick

Adli and Gouiri combined yet again – a string of three quick passes led to the latter bringing up his brace which meant he led the top scorer’s list with four goals in two games already.

Centre-half William Bianda, who was credited with keeping Takefusa Kubo quiet during the whole game, was guilty of conceding a penalty in the 74th minute when bought down Taisei Miyashiro. Miyashiro kept his cool and made no mistake in converting the spot-kick.

Both teams kept testing the other’s resolve but the weather conditions played their part as the intensity of the game died down towards the end.

Lionel Rouxel’s charges won all three points and now have the liberty to experiment given their spot in the next round is confirmed. Japan travel to Kolkata to face New Caledonia on 14th October.