France qualified for their fifth consecutive UEFA European Under-17 Championship final tournament in sensational style by hitting nine without reply against Belarus.
It was 6-0 by the break and in the end Abdallah Yaisien managed four goals and Lenny Nangis three in the biggest ever U17 elite round victory. And they needed it as Group 6 hosts France trailed Norway by two goals at kick-off but ended two clear as their rivals could only beat Georgia 5-0.
Coach Patrick Gonfalone told UEFA.com: "We're happy because we've reaped the fruits of our good work. Our team played well and showed great quality. Being eliminated would have been unfair even if in football, quality does not always bring victory. Here, our team combined quality and victory, so we're happy.
"In that kind of situation, after what happened against Norway, I consoled them because they had produced a good game but the result was cruel. I told them that sometimes in football, you can be unhappy but you have to go on working. My wish was fulfilled on that level. I'm happy that our work produced a good result."
Belarus started the day one point off the group lead but their hopes soon died. The two stars of the day combined for the opener on 14 minutes as Nangis found Yaisien on the edge of the box. He created space and sent a low shot into the net. Seven minutes later Nangis scored himself, thwarted as he tried to get past a defender he instead tried his luck from 20 metres and beat goalkeeper Matvei Frantskevich.
Six minutes later it was 4-0; Nangis ran on to Sébastien Haller's through ball and confidently converted and then Aymeric Laporte headed in Benjamin Mendy's corner. In the last five minutes of the half Yaisien wrapped up his hat-trick, first getting his head to a Mendy free-kick and then turning in a cross from the same player.
With Norway only 2-0 up it looked good for France, and even better with 12 minutes left when substitute Gaëtan Laborde squared a low ball for Yaisien to control and wrong-foot the goalkeeper. Three minutes later Nangis completed his treble, controlling a Haller pass before shaking off a defender and shooting into the top left-hand corner to eclipse the previous elite round record, set by France when they beat Wales 7-0 in 2002/03.
Frantskevich's miserable day was capped when he was sent off near the end for a foul on Nangis, Haller converting the penalty past the stand-in keeper. Les Mini-Bleus, hoping to emulate their 2004 victory, join hosts Serbia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and either Spain or England in the finals from 3 to 15 May. The draw is made on Tuesday in Belgrade.
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