Spain have maintained their unblemished record at Turkey 2013 and secured top spot in Group A with an accomplished 2-1 win over France in Istanbul. Jese scored one and made the other for Paco Alcacer as La Rojita dominated their European counterparts, who nonetheless remain in second place due to Ghana’s win over USA.
The game began promisingly enough for Les Bleuets, with Florian Thauvin snatching on a mistake from Oliver to race through and force a fine near-post save from Daniel Sotres after just eight minutes. However, Jese showed the first flashes of his potential six minutes later when he burst on to an Oliver pass and fired in a low shot that Alphonse Areola did well to tip wide.
France did not heed the danger though, and at the midway point of the first half Jese created Spain’s opening goal. Thriving in a role wide on the right, he deceived Lucas Digne with a clever drag-back before teeing up Alcacer, who opened his body and side-footed the ball with his left into the far corner of the net.
Spain were good value for their lead and they might have doubled it in first half injury time when Jese, having switched to the left, cut in on his right foot and crashed in a low shot that Areola’s fingertips diverted on to the post.
The Spain No10 would not be denied, though, and ten minutes into the second half he scored his fourth goal in just three appearances at this FIFA U-20 World Cup. Jese was composure personified, instantly controlling a missed interception by Kurt Zouma, steadying himself and firing unerringly into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the box.
France did claim a 91st-minute consolation when substitute Thibaut Vion turned sharply to fire home from close range, but this was a game in which they were well and deservedly beaten. Spain top Group A with nine points and will play one of the best third-placed teams, while Les Bleuets will face the runners-up in Group C, with both teams able to stay put in Istanbul.