- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - Fiji has pulled off a major upset at the Under-20 World Cup by beating Honduras 3-0 on Thursday, boosting its chances of making it to the knockout rounds.

Playing at its first World Cup and after being mauled 8-1 by Germany in its opening game, 196th-ranked Fiji produced a turnaround performance that placed the Pacific island nation ahead of some of the sport’s power nations in the race for the round of 16.

Also Thursday, Nigeria showed its class by beating North Korea 4-0.

Fiji’s Iosefu Verevou, who had scored his team’s only goal against Germany, enlarged his fame among the 900,000 population of his Pacific homeland when he scored the opening goal after 14 minutes.

Saula Waqa rocked Honduras with a second goal five minutes later and an own goal on the tick of 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 World Cup was a surprise.

“We planned to press hard from the start and that is exactly what we did,” Fiji coach, former Australia international and coach Frank Farina said. “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.”

A pre-match downpour made the pitch at Christchurch soggy and ball control difficult but Honduras had seemed to settle more quickly than Fiji. Verevou’s goal soon changed that, sending a surge of confidence through the Pacific side.

“Football has days like this and for us this was not a good day,” Honduras coach Jorge Jiminez said. “We made two mistakes which made all the difference.

“We expected Fiji to play a different kind of game and anxiety set in after two early goals. At the end of the day, Fiji deserved to win and they won fairly.

“Our next match against Germany is now crucial and the pressure is on for us to perform. Fiji gave everyone a surprise and it’s our turn to do the same.”

Nigeria bounced back from its opening 4-2 loss to Brazil to comfortably beat North Korea. The Nigerians fully stretched Brazil in what is still regarded as the best match of the tournament and again demonstrated title credentials by taking out a one-sided victory.

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.

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