GAUHATI: Arsenal target Amine Gouiri struck a brace as France notched up a 2-1 victory over Japan to secure a pre-quarterfinal berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup here today.
Gouiri scored in the 13th and 71st to lift the former champions into the knockouts, while Japan found a consolation goal through Taisei Miyashiro in the 73rd minute at the Indira Gandhi International Stadium.
Japan, though, still are in contention from Group E having hammered Honduras 6-1 in their tournament opener.
The first goal came when Gouiri unleashed a right-footer off from the left side of the box off a Maxence Caqueret assist.
It was Les Bleuets that caused the Japanese problems in the early stages of the game, with Gouiri being the biggest threat.
The Olympique Lyonnais youngster opened the scoring on the 13th minute, as he sent a shot through the legs of Japan goalkeeper Kosei Tani.
Despite falling behind, Japan made their way back into the contest and had created chances.
The best of those opportunities was a free-kick from Keito Nakamura, which took a big deflection off the France wall and flew just wide.
At the other end, Caqueret was unlucky not to see a long-range strike hit the target before the break.
The prolific Gouiri would score again just past the midway point of the second half, as he finished off a superb bit of inter-play with Yacine Adli in the Japanese box.
The second France goal prompted a reply for Japan, who reduced the deficit through a Taisei Miyashiro penalty. After that, the French held on for a second straight win in the competition.