Australia’s FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign is over after a 4-0 defeat to France in the Round of 16 on Thursday morning (WST).
Stade de Reims forward Nathanael Mbuku scored a hat-trick for the two-time champions of the tournament, who booked a quarter final date against Spain.
Mbuku broke the deadlock in the sixth minute with a point-blank header and sealed his hatr-trick late in the second half, after the Joeys had Anton Mlinaric sent off on 56 minutes.
The Joeys rallied impressively after Mbuku capitalised on an early spell of France pressure.
Cameron Peupion’s shot was tipped past the post by French number one Melvin Zinga, and another spectacular diving save saw Ali Auglah’s curling effort acrobatically parried.
At the other end, Adam Pavlesic pulled off a string of fine saves – most notably to keep Timothee Pembele’s header out – while the Joeys went even closer when WA’s Joshua Rawlins’ shot clipped the top of the crossbar just before the interval.
Having ended the first half on a high, Australia’s cause was made difficult when Mlinaric was sent off for a challenge on Naouirou Ahamada following Video Assistant Referee Review.
Mbuku then sealed his hat-trick in the 73rd and 82nd minutes, while Enzo Millot added a fourth late on.
The Joeys in action against France