France see off Russia to secure last-eight spot
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Russia 0-1 France
Odsonne Edouard's header settled a tight game as France wrapped up qualification from Group C and left 2012/13 winners Russia in real danger.
Article top media content
• France seal quarter-final spot with one game to spare in Group C
• Odsonne Edouard heads in winning goal ten minutes after half-time
• Russia must beat Scotland and hope Greece lose to France to qualify
• Next matches: Russia v Scotland, France v Greece (Wednesday)
France are through to the quarter-finals of the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship after edging a slender success against 2012/13 winners Russia in Sliven.
Comfortable 5-0 victors against Scotland in their opening game, France made a strong start when captain Timothé Cognat hit the woodwork from a corner. Jean-Claude Giuntini's charges then continued in the same hungry vein as defender Dayot Upamecano unleashed a powerful effort, which Aleksandr Maksimenko kept out with a superb save.
Well organised, Russia were defending stoutly and began to impose themselves more on the match, with Aleksandr Lomovitski heading just wide following a corner from Georgi Makhatadze. They almost took the lead as well, France goalkeeper Luca Zidane being caught in possession and Yegor Denisov sending his shot wide despite facing an empty net.
The two-time winners were punished for that miss ten minutes after the restart, as Bilal Boutobba crossed for Odsonne Edouard to nod goalwards. His header lacked pace, but Maksimenko was unable to keep it out and suddenly France were on top.
Held by Greece in their first outing, Mikhail Galaktionov's troops needed to avoid a costly defeat and went close via a Makhatadze set piece, the Russia skipper forcing Zidane into an excellent stop to keep out his free-kick. Boris Tsygankov then found himself one on one with the France custodian, only to be unable to get a shot away.
It was their opponents who finished on top, in fact, with Boutobba heading off-target shortly after the hour mark. Russia now need to overcome Scotland on Wednesday and hope that Greece lose to France if they are to carve out their own path to the last eight.
Jean-Claude Giuntini, France coach
We knew that Russia have a very good and organised team with some players who can do the business. We wanted to have the ball, this team likes to have the ball, and to press well – I think we succeeded. We only scored one goal, but we had a lot of chances.
Mikhail Galaktionov, Russia coach
We lost to a very strong and skilful team. Even though France had periods of dominance, we still had our chances, which unfortunately we didn't take. We lost, but while we still have a theoretical chance of qualifying we will prepare for the last match with Scotland. At half-time we tried to make some tactical changes, but unfortunately we conceded a goal and that was a bit hard for the boys psychologically and they couldn't rediscover their attacking play.