Mourad Meghni was the hero for France as they reached the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-16 Championship with a 2-0 win over Russia.
The skilful midfielder scored twice and was the fulcrum of most of France’s best moves. Florent Sinama Pongolle, Anthony le Tallec and Kevin Jacmot all came close before Meghni latched on to Sinama’s pass on the edge of the area to open the scoring in the 23rd minute.
The Russians threatened occasionally on the break but France’s unrelenting pressure made a second goal inevitable. A delightful one-two with Le Tallec saw Maghni unleash a superb volley into the top corner.
In the final period the French continued to press forward and Le Tallec was unlucky to hit the post with a fierce shot. But Russia were already beaten and France now look forward to a semi-final encounter with England in Newcastle.
The France coach Jean-François Jodar said: "I felt we controlled the game today. and produced some attractive, flowing football. We are growing stronger with each game although there are still some details to work on. We are delighted to be playing England. To meet the home team in a semi-final in a huge stadium in Newcastle will be very exciting for the players."