Chinese not strong enough for impressive French
After a slow start a changed France side managed to comfortably see off a young spirited Chinese team. A double from Steven Joseph-Monrose put the side ahead before the interval then goals from Nicolas Benezet and Fabien Jarsale finished off an impressive performance.
Set up in the same formation that was good enough to beat Mexico, Pierre Mankowski made five changes to the side, Damien Le Tallec replaced Yannis Tafer, Loic Nego and Matthieu Saunier came into the defence and Fabien Jarsale joined Abdou Sissoko in the central midfield.
It took France most of the first half to get up to speed. As was against Mexico most moves began with Sissoko in the centre of the park. Just after twenty minutes Sissoko found Yohann Court out wide right, the early cross caught the Chinese napping and Monrose was unmarked to score a wonderful diving header.
France’s movement again was superb. Court and Knockaert were constantly switching wings and both cut inside to find space created by the movement of the Monrose. Le Tallec had a quiet game and it would be very surprising if Tafer was not recalled for the Hungary match.
In defence Koulibaly and Martin were solid without being put in danger. Saunier looked good going down the left. Nantes right back Loic Nego was impressive down the right, not as dynamic as Duplus but still active and busy. It was Nego that set up France’s second, his low cross was controlled by Monrose, he flicked it up into the air and unleashed a sideways volley into the top corner.
Wingers Knockaert and Court played very well. Switching sides and creating numerous chances. It was Knockaert that was replaced by Nicolas Benezet just after half-time and the Nimes midfielder made it three when the Chinese goalkeeper fumbled a cross from the right Monrose laid the ball off and Benezet fired a powerful shot fiercely into the corner.
The fourth goals was all about Benezet, after an excellent run down the right he cut the ball back to the penalty spot and Jarsale was following up the play, a weak shot but good enough to beat Gao Sheng. Another impressive win for the young French side it also means they have qualified for the semi-finals before their last group game.
It will be interesting to see what sort of side Mankowski picks for the last game in the group, most players have been given some time on the field so it is unclear who his strongest XI will be.
TEAM: Gorgelin, Nego, Koulibaly, Isimat-Marin, Saunier, Sissoko, Jarsale, Knockaert, Court, Le Tallec, Monrose
Subs: Benezet for Knockaert – 49 minutes, Trebel for Sissoko – 62 minutes, Bourgeois for Monrose – 67 minutes, Damour for Jarsale – 71 minutes
GOAL: MONROSE 21’ 39’ FRA, BENEZET 64’, JARSALE 70’