France came back from a goal down to crush Spain 6-1 in the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Spain stunned the French with their opening goal in the ninth minute through German Valera. The Spanish captain steered in an accurate, left-footed shot from the top of the penalty area into the bottom corner.
The goal jolted the French into action. It took them just 12 minutes to find the equaliser. Nianzou Kouassi equalised for France in the 21st minute with a powerful header at the back post off a corner kick.
Then the red-hot Nathanael Mbuku, who scored a hat-trick against Australia in the previous match, , gave his side the lead after he timed his run perfectly to tap in from close range and cap off an enthralling half. His 36th minute goal for was his fourth of the tournament.
Beginning to impose themselves in the second half, France ran away with the tie in the 15 minutes after the break, scoring three times through Isaac Lihadji (46m), Timothee Pembele (54m) and Georginio Rutter (59m). Adil Aouchiche put the icing on the cake in stoppage time to ensure it was France’s biggest win of the tournament.
Spanish Goalkeeper Ivan Martinez made a pair of one-on-one saves in the second half, preventing an even harsher final score for the four-time runners-up at this tournament.
The French will meet Brazil in the semi-finals after the hosts gunned down Italy in their quarter-final tie. Two first half goals was all that took for the Brazilians to deny the Italians a place in the last four.
The three time champions only managed to finish third in India two years ago and have been showing they can go all the way this time around.
In the match against Italy, they flew out of the gates early on. Stringing together passes down the left side, they opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Pedro Lucas’ through ball sprung Patryck free, and the left-back raced into the box before beating the Italian keeper Marco Molla with a rising shot at near post.
Five minutes before the break, Peglow doubled the lead with a brilliant effort. The Brazil No 10 escaped his marker to pick a pass from Lucas before putting it pass the Italian keeper.
Italy would be ruing the missed chance to get the equaliser in their first half. Willy Gnonto’s header from a Simone Panada free-kick just sailed over the crossbar .
In the second half, Gnonto had another chance to pull one back. He escaped the Brazilian defence in the 82nd minute but just could not get the ball pass on onrushing goalkeeper Matheus Donelli in a one-on-one situation.