France, in their first appearance in the UEFA European Under-16 Championship finals for five years, confirmed their status as one of the pre-tournament favourites with a resounding 3-0 win over Scotland in their opening Group D clash at Barnsley FC’s Oakwell stadium.
Florent Sinama Pongolle put the French ahead when he beat Scotland goalkeeper Kieron Renton to a loose ball. The Scots responded positively and created a few half-chances, but were almost hit by a sucker-punch when Anthony Le Tallec narrowly missed from close range with a low shot.
After the break the French put on the pressure and Sinama scored his second with a diving header from Mourad Meghni’s accurate cross. He came close to completing his hat-trick before setting up Le Tallec, who kept his nerve to score France’s third and complete Scotland’s misery.
The Scotland coach Ross Mathie said: "We can have no complaints about the result. To be honest we’re just delighted to be here in the first place and to be drawn against France was always going to be a big challenge. I thought before the tournament that we’d need to win two games to progress and that’s still possible. We’ve got to take some lessons from this match and use them in our remaining games."
France coach Jean-François Jodar said: "I’m very happy with both the result and the performance. It’s always important to start with a win. The only downside is that we had a player [Jacques Faty] injured at a very early stage and in a competition like this ideally you want all players fit. But on the positive side this win sets us up well for the two next games."