England, France, Japan stroll as Mexico held by Iraq

AGENIES KOLKATA, 8th Oct: The highly-rated Jadon Sancho was at the heart of the action all night, as an impressive England ran out to a comfortable 4-0 win over a sluggish Chilean side in Group F in Kolkata. The South American runners-up were seldom in the match against their European counterparts, and they fell behind in just the fifth minute after Sancho beat two defenders and set up Callum Hudson-Odoi all alone in front of the goalkeeper.

Despite a host of dangerous opportunities through the first half, the Three Lions had to wait until after the break to double their advantage. Borussia Dortmund winger Sancho was in the right place to turn goalscorer in the 51st minute, as Chilean goalkeeper Julio Borquez gifted him the ball from Rhian Brewster’s cross in front of goal. After a lovely run by George McEachran set up Sancho for his second, Borquez's night went from bad to worse, as he was sent off for denying Brewster a clear goalscoring opportunity well outside his box. Second-half substitute Angel Gomes curled the resulting free-kick past midfielder Branco Provoste, who was forced to deputise in goal for 10-man Chile after they had already used their three substitutions.

A hat-trick by Keito Nakamura propelled Japan to a convincing 6-1 victory over Honduras in their FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 opener in Guwahati on Sunday evening.

Showing skill and technical ability, Japan proved too difficult to handle for the Hondurans at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, with Nakamura scoring the first of his three first-half goals with a powerful header from Takefusa Kubo’s corner near the midway point of the half.

Nakamura then doubled Japan’s advantage with a neat dribble and finish on the half-hour mark before Honduras replied six minutes later through Patrick Palacios. However, that lifeline for the central Americans was soon erased, as Nakamura completed his hat-trick on 43 minutes before Kubo made it 4-1 to the Samurai Blue just before the half-time whistle.

Any hopes that Honduras had of a comeback were ended shortly after the break, as Taisei Miyashiro scored a fifth Japanese goal before Toichi Suzuki added a sixth to ensure all three points went to the Asian outfit.

Amine Gouiri fired a brace as France overpowered debutants New Caledonia 7-1 in a lopsided Group E opener of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Sunday.

France pumped in as many as six goals in the first half. An early own goal from Bernard Iwa in the fifth minute was a sign of things to come as Gouiri (19th and 33rd minutes), Maxence Caqueret (40th) and own goal from Kiam Wanesse in the 43rd minute killed the contest.

New Caledonia, a French-administered territory, improved their performance in the second half. Even though France dropped their guard in the second half, their flank players were relentless and they kept attacking. Early into the second half, New Caledonia goalkeeper Kecine dived to his right to save a penalty from Caqueret.

From this moment, Kecine grew in confidence and made few fine saves. In the 90th minute, Sidri Wadenges scored goal from a header to mark New Caledonia's maiden goal at a FIFA tournament. But a minute later, Wilson Isidor scored France's seventh goal to round off the scoring tally.

France now face Asian powerhouse Japan in their next group games, while New Caledonia meet Honduras.

Iraq pulled off an upset of sorts by holding two-time champions Mexico to a 1-1 draw in a Group F tie here at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan on Sunday. Star Iraqi forward Mohammed Dawood gave the Asian champions a shock lead in the 16th minute only to see his goal being cancelled out by Mexico's Roberto De La Rosa in the 51st minute.

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