Two Western European nations asserted their dominance on the world soccer scene Sunday morning.
France and England combined to score 11 goals as France routed New Caledonia and England took care of Chile in the early-morning action.
England’s Jaden Sancho, formerly of Manchester City before moving to Borussia Dortmund this summer, scored twice and assisted on the opener, while Amine Gouri scored a brace for Les Bleus.
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Here’s a look at how the day’s matches went in Groups E and F:
France 7-1 New Caledonia
Two own goals and six first half goals gave France a runaway win against New Caledonia. Gouri, Claudio Gomes, Maxence Caqueret and Wilson Isidor scored for Les Blues, but the silver lining was the first goal at a World Cup at any level for New Caledonia, when Sidri Wadenges finished a free kick inside the six-yard box.
Japan 6-1 Honduras
Japan got in on the goal-scoring action later Sunday with a 6-1 rout of Honduras. Keito Nakamura scored a first half hat-trick while Takefusa Kubo, Taisei Miyashiro and Toichi Suzuki added three more for the Samurai Blue. Los Catrachos had no answer for the constant Japanese attacks, as Nakamura and co. split open the Honduras defense at will.
England 4-0 Chile
It was all England from the start.
Callum Hudson-Odoi put the Three Lions on top in the fifth minute and England controlled the match from there. Sancho, who assisted on the first, then scored two more goals for England, one on a rebound and another on a nice finish slotting home into the far corner.
Angel Gomes put the finishing touches on the match with a brilliant curling free kick. To make matters worse, moments before the free kick, Chile goalkeeper Julio Borquez was sent off for the denial of a goal-scoring opportunity just outside the box. With Chile out of subs, star attacking midfielder Branco Provost took the goalkeeper jersey and gloves and went between the pipes.
Iraq 1-1 Mexico
Mexico’s latest generation of young guns failed to pick up all three points as Iraq, led by star striker Mohammed Dawood, held off Mexico in the late stages.
Dawood opened the scoring in the first half, putting Mexico under more pressure, but it was relieved somewhat early in the second half as Roberto de la Rosa – who earlier hit the crossbar – finished from close range after an Iraqi error in the box.