Fiji surprises Honduras at Under-20 World Cup
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Fiji pulled off a major upset at the Under-20 World Cup by beating Honduras 3-0 Thursday, boosting its chances of making it to the knockout round.
Playing at its first World Cup and after losing to Germany 8-1 in its opening game, 196th-ranked Fiji produced a turnaround performance that placed the Pacific island nation ahead of some of the sport's powers in the race for the round of 16.
Also Thursday, Nigeria beat North Korea 4-0.
Fiji's Iosefu Verevou, who had scored his team's only goal against Germany, scored the opening goal after 14 minutes. Saula Waqa stunned Honduras with a second goal five minutes later and an own-goal before halftime completed the upset.
Fiji may be the Oceania champion but its players are amateurs and a win over a team playing at its fifth U20 World Cup was a surprise.
''We planned to press hard from the start and that is exactly what we did,'' said Fiji coach Frank Farina, a former Australia international and coach. ''This allowed us to take chances and frustrated our opponents.
''We are known for being strong in defense and have proven we can also score. Our boys have realized that they can play at this level and that they do deserve to be here.''
Nigeria bounced back from its opening 4-2 loss to Brazil to comfortably beat North Korea.
The first half was scoreless but Nigeria seized control with a quick double by Saviour Godwin in the 48th and 51st minutes. Kingsley Sokari made it 3-0 with a powerful shot from the edge of the area in the 71st minute and substitute Success Isaac completed the scoring nine minutes later.
''It's not all about winning but it's about entertaining the crowd and that's something that our side did,'' Nigeria coach Manu Garba said.
Germany and Brazil both moved comfortably into the knockout rounds with their second-straight wins.
European champion Germany beat Uzbekistan 3-0 while Brazil came from a goal down to beat Hungary 2-1.