Two goals in quick succession midway through the first half gave UEFA European Under-19 Championship holders France victory against Belarus in their opening Group 3 game.
Anthony Derouard was the decisive figure, scoring the first goal in the 25th minute and setting up Saphir Taider for the clinching second ten minutes later. Philippe Bergeroo's side next face fellow Matchday 1 victors Greece on Sunday, when mini-tournament hosts Slovakia are the opposition for Belarus.
Although Yuri Khomko's Belarus competed well throughout, France's patience paid off when Le Mans FC forward Derouard broke the deadlock in style, finding the top corner of Sergei Ignatovich's net with an accurate shot from the angle.
The goalkeeper was exposed again in the 35th minute having ventured out of his penalty area, Derouard keeping his head and setting up Taider to shoot into the unguarded net. It might have been three before half-time with Derouard involved again but Benjamin Jeannot failed to apply the finishing touch to a swift counterattack.
The pattern largely continued unbroken after half-time, Taider hitting the post with a header from Dennis Appiah's cross. Sergei Glebko was denied by the crossbar as Belarus sought a way back into the contest but in fact it was France who came closest to another goal, Ignatovich keeping out Jeannot's volley with a fine save.
"The first match of the tournament is always very important and I'm satisfied with the three points," said Bergeroo. "We played well as a team, despite the many wasted chances, and we have to improve that. We let Belarus have two or three openings and we need to be careful with that. We have a good team, not with great individuals, but we work hard and fight for each other. That's important in a tournament like this."
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