It was a good day for Asia at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019, as both Japan and Korea Republic got their campaigns off to winning starts. Elsewhere on this second day of competition, Senegal disposed of USA and France comfortably defeated Chile.
In the much-anticipated Group D duel between continental champions, the Japanese performed brilliantly to see off the Dutch, thanks in part to Yamato Wakatsuki’s impressive brace. Korea Republic, meanwhile, were workmanlike in their defeat of Haiti in Group C, despite the tight scoreline.
Tournament debutants Senegal overcame the setback of conceding a goal to USA after just three minutes of play to bounce back and secure a deserved 4-1 victory. Late in the encounter, USA defender Tayvon Gray became the first player at Brazil 2019 to be sent off.
The French got the better of the Chileans courtesy of an inspired performance by Adil Aouchiche in Goiania, although they may harbour regrets that they did not win more emphatically.
? Memorable moments
Tumultuous two minutes
France initially had a tough time breaking through Chile’s defence, but when they finally did, they proceeded to immediately kill the game off: Lucien Agoume slotted home from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute, and one minute later Aouchiche threaded a lovely pass through for Isaac Lihadji, who squeezed the ball in at the near post. Two minutes later, an almost identical move saw the dominant French come close to scoring a third goal.
When Pape Sarr’s fantastic free-kick flew into the United States net to give Senegal a 4-1 lead, the Estadio Kleber Andrade pitch briefly transformed into a dance floor. In the far corner of the field, the Africans celebrated the strike and their victory over USA – the nation that has, alongside Brazil, appeared the most often at the U-17 World Cup (16 times) – with an entertaining choreographed routine.
There was much noise and colour in Goiania and Vitoria on Sunday. At the Estadio da Serrinha, around 200 members of the Haitian community were in attendance to offer loud and supportive cheers, especially after Carl Sainte’s eye-catching strike offered their team a late lifeline. Some of the fans, who have refugee status, had been invited to the match by the tournament’s Local Organising Committee. At Estadio Kleber Andrade, meanwhile, the players were met with a sea of orange after the Dutch embassy handed out 500 tops to supporters outside the stadium.