France beats Uzbekistan 4-0 to reach U20 WC semis
ISTANBUL (AP) -France defeated Uzbekistan 4-0 to reach the semifinals of the Under-20 World Cup on Saturday, cementing its status as one of the tournament favorites.
Yaya Sanogo scored in the 31st minute, and Paul Pogba and Florian Thauvin both added goals from the penalty spot to give France a 3-0 halftime lead.
A diving header from defender Kurt Zouma in the 64th made it 4-0 for France, which beat host Turkey 4-1 in the previous round.
France will next play Ghana or Chile, who play their quarterfinal on Sunday. France will at least match its best previous result in the competition - finishing fourth two years ago in Colombia.
France dominated the match from the start but missed several clear chances. Sanogo hit the post in the second minute, and Thauvin did the same in the 17th, before left winger Jean Christophe Baheback helped France break the deadlock.
Bahebeck first set up Sanogo for an easy tap-in, giving the team's top scorer his fourth goal. Four minutes later Baheback earned France's first penalty when he was brought down by Uzbekistan right back Tohirjon Shamshitdinov, who was later sent off for a second yellow card in the 65th.
Two minutes before halftime, Diyorjon Turapov handled the ball, enabling Thauvin to give France a comfortable lead.
France lowered the pace of play in the second half and put less pressure on Uzbekistan, which received five yellow cards for rough play.
Zouma added the fourth as he converted a corner from Thauvin. Substitute Alexy Bosetti missed four clear chances to make it 5-0, which would have matched France's defeat of Iran in 2001, its best ever win in the competition.
Reaching the quarterfinals was Uzbekistan's best achievement. It had never won a match at an Under-20 World Cup before at two previous attempts.
Later Saturday, Uruguay played Spain in the second quarterfinal.