Sugimoto 7’, Watanabe 44’, 78’ (pen)
SHARJAH // Japan continued to burnish their reputation at this Fifa Under 17 World Cup by recording a resounding 3-1 victory against Venezuela to ensure their place in the tournament’s last 16.
The Group D leaders delivered a performance full of slick and incisive passing, bookmarking the first half with two goals before reinforcing their superiority in large spells after the break.
The deserved triumph made it two from two for the south Asians and confirmed their progression from the group stages following Tunisia’s earlier win against Russia.
Japan kicked on from their opening victory against the Russians, scoring in the seventh minute through Taro Sugimoto’s tap-in. His chance had been created by Ryoma Ishida’s clever run and pullback.
Venezuela were quickly back on level terms, though, when on 16 minutes Jose Caraballo prodded home a loose ball, much to the delight of his team’s coaching staff.
However, Japan responded by creating a plethora of chances, captain Ryoma Watanabe finally taking one a minute before half-time when he met another low cross from Ishida and casually placed it past Beycker Velasquez, the Venezuela goalkeeper.
Japan threatened to run away with the match then, yet they would add only one other, Watanabe first earning a penalty and then sending Velasquez the wrong way from the spot.
Morocco missed out on the chance to reach the last 16 with a game to spare as they failed to take advantage of their dominance against Uzbekistan, eventually settling for a 0-0 draw. The Uzbeks, who have yet to concede a goal after 180 minutes of football, are level with Morocco on four points.
Ante Roguljic’s wonderful solo goal secured Croatia’s first win in Group C, while Panama know their participation in the tournament hangs in the balance after a second successive defeat. Roguljic, right, beat three Panama defenders in the area before pulling a cross-shot inside the far post on 26 minutes.