Michael Casey / The Associated Press
ISTANBUL -- Spain showed why it is favored to win the Under-20 World Cup, beating the United States 4-1 on Friday in an opening game behind two goals each from star strikers Jese and Gerard Deulofeu.
The Americans' lone goal was scored by Luis Gil from just outside the penalty area in the 77th minute.
France also turned in a strong game in the other Group A match, scoring two second-half goals within four minutes to defeat Ghana 3-1. France lost to Spain in the semifinals of the Under-19 European Championship.
South Korea came from a goal down to beat tournament newcomer Cuba 2-1 in the Group B opener. In other Group B match, Portugal downed Nigeria 3-2 after squandering a 2-0 lead.
The Ghana-France match drew about 2,800 fans in a 50,000-seat stadium. Before the tournament, FIFA feared slow sales, with only 300,000 of the 1.3 million tickets sold.
Security has been stepped up at all seven sites following weeks of sometimes violent protests. Riot police had cracked down on environmental activists who opposed plans to remove trees and develop Gezi Park in Istanbul. But the protests this week have given way to peaceful resistance, and there were no signs of protest at the Ghana-France game.
Spain opened the scoring when Deulofeu fired a shot across the goalmouth and Jese volleyed the ball into the net in the fifth minute.
The Americans could have tied the score in the 13th minute, but Joaquin Hernandez shot wide when faced with an open net. The U.S. controlled the tempo for the next 15 minutes but could contain Spain's strikers for only so long.
Deulofeu received the ball outside the area, sidestepped a defender and sent a blistering shot just beyond goalkeeper Cody Cropper to make it 2-0 in the 42nd. The European champions caught the defense sleeping two minutes later.
Javier Manquillo made a great run and passed to Jese, who was lurking in the area. The Real Madrid striker scored his second goal just before halftime.
Spain seemed to content to sit back for much of the second half, but its counterattack again paid dividends. Deulofeu received a long ball, got around Cropper and scored for the second time.