Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adil Aouchiche certainly looks the calibre of young player that could make the step up into the senior French squad pretty soon.
He was the architect for France’s 6-1 under-17 European Championship quarter-final win over the Czech Republic in Tallaght Stadium on Sunday.
The teenager scored four goals and showed all the potential of player who could play a part in the French squad seeking to retain the World Cup crown in Qatar in three years' time.
French DJ Vegedream to be rapping about La Coupe a la Maison with Aouchiche a teammate of Kylian Mpappé in a few years time is not an outlandish scenario.
It was a nice way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon, watching some youngsters kick a ball around the local council pitch.
Of course, the Irish in attendance at Tallaght Stadium had hoped that they would be watching their Boys in Green in this quarter-final of the European Championships.
As it was, what they did see was an entertaining affair between the teenage teams of France and Czech Republic with the French side’s passing, movement and a certain joie de vivre a delight to behold.
Indeed, there will also be the chance to say in years to come that they saw some of the stars of the future – with Aouchiche the player in particular the stand out player.
The Czechs defended resolutely to keep the French at bay for most of the first half but failed to do anything of real note with the limited possession they were allowed. Their opponents didn’t work the Czech goalkeeper at all in that time.
When it came it was a delightful opening goal for France from Enzo Millot on the half-hour mark.
With the aid of a slight deflection, Millot was able to run onto a through ball and, with keeper Lukas Hornicek caught on his peno spot, Millot lifted the ball over the hand of the despairing, retreating netminder.
They doubled their lead within six minutes. There was some neat French passing on the right and the Czech’s had the chance to clear but failed to do so.
Aouchiche showed some adroit footwork to take the ball into a small bit of space amongst the Czech defenders, push it onto his left foot and rifle home from ten yards.
Two minutes into first-half injury time, Aouchiche showed more of his star quality. French captain Lucien Agoume and Issac Lihadji were involved in the buildup but Aouchiche had still plenty to do when the ball came to him in the box.
Again, he showed remarkable calmness and quick feet to beat the Czech defence and shoot by Hornicek.
Within four minutes of the restart, Aouchiche had hit the butt of the post from a free kick on the left earned after Frantisek Matys had gone in the book for too tough a challenge for Danish referee Jorgen Burchadt’s liking.
The French got plenty of joy down the left in the second period with substitute Dilane Bakwa twice hitting shots just beyond the frame of the Czech goal.
There was a buzz around Tallaght when the substitute board went up showing the French were bringing on their number 10.
Theo Zidane, son of Zinedine, was introduced by coach Jean-Claude Giuntini but failed to stand out in the time he was given.
Kelian Nsona Wa Saka went close with a shot after with a block by Czech captain Jan Hellebrand crucial in talking the ball just over the crossbar – Hellebrand hurt himself in doing so and was stretched off in considerable pain.
Aouchiche wrapped up his hat trick a quarter of an hour from time. Nsona Wa Saka slipped the ball through the back-peddling Czech defence right into the path of the midfielder who side footed it home to lay claim to the match ball.
Nsona Wa Sake got a richly deserved goal for his second-half substitute contribution ten minutes from the end, grabbing his team’s fifth goal with a drilled low right footed drive from outside the area.
Czech player Adam Toula forced a good save from Melvin Zinga in the French goal late on and the his side did get a goal deep in injury time from Adam Ritter but by then they were 5-1 down.
With four minutes remaining Petr Kurka took down Amadou Traore in the box and he a small bit reluctantly handed the ball to Aouchiche who by then had the captain’s armband on.
He tucked the peno away courtesy of the bottom bit of the left hand post for his fourth goal on the day and his ninth of the competition – thus becoming the record goalscorer in a UEFA under-17 European Championship.
France: Marvin Zinga; Timothee Pembele (Etienne Youte Kinkoue 84), Nianzou Kouassi, Chrislain Matsima, Melih Altikulac; Adil Aouchiche, Lucien Agoume (c) (Theo Zidane 59), Enzo Milot; Georginio Rutter (Kelian Nsona Wa Saka 46), Nathanael Mbuku (Dilane Bakwa 46), Isaac Lihadji (Amadou Traore 77).
Subs not used: Amjhad Nazih (gk), Brandon Soppy, Jean-Claude Ntenda, Johann Lepenant.
Czech Republic: Lukáš Hornicek,; Josef Kozeluh (Martin Šimek 22), Štêpán Stary (Adam Toula 46), František Matys, Petr Kurka; Lukáš Hronik (Samuel Šimek 85), Jan Hellenbrand © (Petr Novácek 67), Tomáš Hájek; David Pech (Filip Sihart 46), Adam Ritter, Jáchym Šip.
Subs not used: Adam Stejskal, Filip Gedeon , Vojtêch Wotjatschke.
Booked: Frantisek Matys (48), Filip Silhart (57), Martin Simek (72)
Referee: Jorgen Burchardt (Denmark).
Attendance: 670 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Adil Aouchiche (France).