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2017 U-20 World Cup round-up, Group E, round 1: France takes comfortable win to start

No change to the expectation that Honduras, New Zealand and Vietnam are playing for second in this group.

Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The only pre-tournament question about Group E of the 2017 Men's U-20 World Cup was which team will finish second. France seemed the prohibitive favorite to win the group, and is a favorite to win the tournament.

No change to that question after the first round of games: France looks a cut above the rest of Group E still, and it isn't clear which of the other three teams will prove second-best.

France 3-0 Honduras

It's a stretch to say Honduras challenged France in this game, but Los Catrachos might reasonably feel they should have at least got a goal out of the game.

Jean-Kevin Augustin got France on the board in the 15th minute, Amine Harit added a second before half-time, and Martin Terrier capped the win with a goal in the 80th minute.

The 3-0 win for France is about what one might have expected from this game before kick-off. And on the evidence of this match, if France has anything to be concerned about, it is that it won't be adequately tested by its group-stage opponents and might find itself caught out by tougher tests in the knockout rounds.

Honduras is capable of some quality in the final third, and New York Red Bulls II's Douglas Martinez is partially responsible for that strength. Los Catrachos know they will need to be sharper in front of goal to get out of this group, but they can also expect to find chances a little easier to come by against Vietnam and New Zealand.

New Zealand 0-0 Vietnam

The scoreless draw did neither of these teams any favors. Both are expected to lose to France, and points against each other and Honduras are the priority. Wayward shooting was to blame, as New Zealand and Vietnam each created chances they'd expect to put away on most days.

The impression gained from this match was of two relatively well-matched teams. It is how they each match up against Honduras that will likely decide which team from Group E joins France in the knockout rounds.

Next games in Group E:

  • France vs Vietnam - 4:00 am, Eastern; Thursday, May 25
  • New Zealand vs Honduras - 7:00 am, Eastern; Thursday, May 25