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Goals galore, as big guns come out firing

  • France, England and Japan ran riot in their openers
  • Mexico, meanwhile, were held by Iraq
  • It was the highest-scoring day so far, with 21 goals

THE DAY REPLAYED – France, England and Japan kicked off their FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 campaigns with a bang on the third day of the competition, which served up no fewer than 21 goals.

Les Bleus gave New Caledonia a baptism of fire on the islanders’ FIFA tournament debut, scoring six times in the first half alone before wrapping up the biggest victory of this year’s event to date. The Japanese were almost as rampant in the other Group E game, crushing Honduras thanks in no small part to a Keito Nakamura hat-trick.

England produced an equally impressive display in the Group F curtain-raiser, putting four goals past a shell-shocked Chile, the runners-up at the South American U-17 Championship. Also in this section, two-time winners Mexico had to settle for a draw against Iraq, who collected their first-ever point in the competition.

The games
Group E
New Caledonia 1-7 France 
Honduras 1-6 Japan 

Group F
Chile 0-4 England 
Iraq 1-1 Mexico 

Follow the games

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What we learned
There is a first time for everything 

For competition debutants, new ground is there to be broken. Une Kecine did just that, etching his name into New Caledonian football history by becoming the first Cagous player to keep out a penalty at a FIFA tournament. “It was a tough day at the office because of the seven goals we conceded, but it was special too because of the penalty I saved. For us, saving a penalty or scoring a goal is like winning the World Cup,” the shot-stopper told FIFA.com.

An auspicious surname  

Two players with the surname Gomes – of absolutely no relation to each other – were on the scoresheet on day three. The first to find the net was PSG playmaker Claudio, the France captain, who notched his side’s third goal. He was followed by Manchester United’s Angel, also a creative midfielder, who curled home a sumptuous free-kick to round off England’s victory.

Saito absent, but not forgotten

A shirt bearing the number 17 was displayed in the Japan dugout in a heart-warming gesture of support for Koki Saito. The Yokohama FC attacker sustained an injury in the run-up to his country’s opener and will miss the entirety of the tournament. He has been replaced in the squad by Akito Tanahashi of Yokohama F. Marinos.

The stat of the day

1,900
– Mexico’s Roberto de la Rosa’s equaliser against Iraq was the 1,900th strike in the competition’s history. He is the second El Tri player to bring up a landmark figure at this event: compatriot Carlos Campos bagged goal number 1,300 at Nigeria 2009.

The quote
“It’s great to have scored four goals, but it’s just as important that we kept a clean sheet. That’s something we place a lot of emphasis on as a team. We controlled the game from start to finish. The match against Mexico will be a good test.”
England coach Steve Cooper

Updated: October 9, 2017 — 1:39 am

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