France finish strong to beat Korea Republic
© AFP

France staged a late rally to beat Korea Republic 3-1 and lift their hopes of reaching the Round of 16. The European champions, who lost 4-1 to Colombia first time out, were all square with ten minutes remaining, before Gueida Fofana and Alexandre Lacazette both scored.

Amid ideal conditions for football, France quickly got into their rhythm. With a minute on the clock a nice Timothee Kolodziejczak cross forced the alert Yang Han Been to punch the ball away, with Cedric Bakambu lurking. Soon afterwards a defensive mistake allowed Antoine Griezmann a sight on goal, centrally positioned just outside the box, but the Real Sociedad man fired just wide.

Kim Young Uk tried his luck from a free-kick, but the ball deflected into the arms of France keeper Jonathan Ligali, before he curled another into the box, which Rim Chang Woo headed over.

Les Bleuets edged ahead on 27 minutes. A corner was headed into the path of Gilles Sunu, whose firm strike from eight yards out gave Kim no chance.

Thereafter, Griezmann unleashed a piledriver which went wide, while Choi Sung Guen failed to keep his volley on target before the half-time whistle was blown.

Korea Republic began the second half in purposeful mood, and after a Kim Kyung Jung volley had threatened an equaliser, Kim Young Uk found it, curling an excellent free-kick into the back of the net via the fingertips of Ligali.

France needed a goal, but they were struggling to break down the Asians until fortune came to their aid. Fofana struck the ball with power from 20 yards and it cannoned off Kim Jun Su and, with goalkeeper Yang Han Been helpless, fell into the back of his net.

Ligali came to France's rescue on 85 minutes, making a superb save from Lee Jong Ho, and in injury time Lacazette tapped home to put the result beyond doubt.

France will play Mali in Cali on Friday, while Korea Republic will complete their Group A campaign against Colombia in Bogota.