Julis strike sinks New Zealand

All to play for ... Czech Republic players (red shirts) celebrate their victory (Getty)

A battling New Zealand side went down 1-0 to a strong Czech Republic outfit in its second Group D match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.

The more experienced and bigger European side dominated the opening period and led 1-0 at half-time thanks to a goal from striker Lukas Julis.

Scott Basalaj was outstanding in goal for the Junior All Whites, pulling off a number of fine saves as the Czechs tried to sew the game up in the second half.

New Zealand's best chances fell to Tim Payne and Stephen Carmichael but they were unable to beat Czech goalkeeper Lukas Zima in one-on-one situations.

The final round of matches will prove critical in Group D, with New Zealand, USA, Uzbekistan and the Czech Republic all sitting on three points.

New Zealand is set to face USA on Monday morning (AEST), while the Czech Republic will meet Uzbekistan.

Source NZPA