- France win to tee up rerun of last year’s UEFA U-19 final versus Italy
- Allan Saint-Maximin scores too, one from an outrageous angle
- New Zealand to meet Group F winners
A spectacular Allan Saint-Maximin brace ensured France finished top of FIFA U-20 World Cup Group E with an unblemished record, following a 2-0 win against New Zealand in Daejeon.
With France already through, they gave a trio their first taste of football at Korea Republic 2017. One choice proved to be something of a masterstroke. Saint-Maximin was set to take the spotlight, but not before New Zealand had given the European champions a scare.
Myer Bevan got his head to a delightful cross by James McGarry to bring the best out of goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni. At the other end, New Zealand’s Michael Woud pulled off the first of some stupendous saves in a game-long battle with Martin Terrier – with the Kiwi keeper coming out on top.
Against Saint-Maximin, it was a different story. His first of the day was a fierce effort from the edge of the area, zipping parallel to the turf and into the bottom right corner. His second was spectacular, though the intention is up for debate. Wide on the left flank, he cut out on to his right foot and pinged the ball across the area, with it nestling neatly in the top corner of New Zealand’s goal.
Woud performed superbly to keep the score as it was, with Bernardoni doing similar to prevent a fightback, as France teed up a re-run of last year’s UEFA European U-19 Championship 2016 final with Italy. New Zealand qualify for the next round, too, facing the eventual victors in Group F.