24 Oct 2015

NZ thrashed in U-17 World Cup opener

12:12 pm on 24 October 2015

The New Zealand under-17 men's football team has been outclassed by France 6-1 in their opening match at the World Cup in Chile.

The Phoenix player James McGarry in action in the National Premiership.

The Phoenix player James McGarry in action in the National Premiership. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The European champions and one of the pre-tournament favourites, France scored five of their six goals in the first half, the first coming through an own goal by New Zealand defender James McGarry, the son of former All White Michael McGarry.

McGarry made amends in the second half when he scored the side's only goal.

The second half saw the New Zealand side settle and an improved defensive effort restricted France to largely shots from outside the area.

That platform gave the New Zealand side more threat going forward and Logan Rogerson had a great chance to pull a goal back in the 67th minute but scuffed his shot into the arms of France goalkeeper Luca Zidane, son of French legend Zinedine Zidane.

The New Zealand coach Danny Hay said the first half and the last 15 minutes in particular, were tough for his group to swallow.

"It was a very tough learning curve for our boys," Hay said.

"They are European champions for a reason and they beat a very good German side 4-1 and you can see why. They are a talented bunch and that's why France are being talked up as clear favourites of this tournament."

"The fact that we conceded four goals in the last 15 minutes of the first half is extremely disappointing from my perspective.

"The players showed a huge amount of character in the second half and I'm really proud of the performance they put on," Hay said.

"They showed a lot of fight and there is a little bit of positive to take out of it and we played some reasonable football in the second half and showed a bit more composure at times."

New Zealand's next match is against Syria on Friday morning.