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Once a battling Tonga was subdued by them, france will perform England to decide who shirts Pool C on Saturday.
France put in a characteristically fitful screen – racing into a 17-point lead then rallying prior to a Tonga attempt set up a frantic finale.
But, Damian Penaud recovered Camille Lopezs restart to end the underdogs hopes of snatching a triumph.
The winners of pool C will face the runners-up in Pool D from the previous eight.
Australia seem the second in Pool D, if they can negotiate although that class will be topped by Wales matches against Uruguay and Georgia.
As center Virimi Vakatawa went over from Alivereti Rakas one-handed pass france, with a distinct mix in as many matches, began the game at a canter.
After scrum-half Baptiste Serin seen a unmarked Raka and also the chance to tap and choose a score, Jacques Brunels negative were 17-0 up after 35 seconds.
But, just as in their opening game against Argentina – when they allowed the Pumas straight back in the game from 20-3 down – Frances concentration wavered.
The Sonatane Takulua of newcastle dived over from close range just before the rest as the forwards of Tonga wrestled their way to the ascendancy.
France full-back Maxime Medard paid the price for allowing the ball to rebound early in the second half as Malietoa Hingano pounced to power over.
With their benefit shaved down to 3 factors, the feeling that a replica of Tongas upset victory in the 2011 pool phases could be brewing stung France back.
They tightened their drama and also fly-half Romain Ntamack got two penalty goals to put his side 23-14 ahead.
Penaud dived over to seemingly put the game beyond doubt, however that was more drama as Nic Berry – belatedly, but properly – ruled outside that score for a knock-on by Medard, and then Tonga flanker Zane Kapeli maintained a cross-field kick and then dotted down.
Replacement Latiume Fosita slotted the conversion since they ready to obtain kick-off with less than a minute to proceed putting Tonga in two points.
But the back was tapped by Penaud and then France booted in touch to end the match.
Despite just scratching beyond an opponent his side watched 35-3 in the championship opener, England head coach Eddie Jones will have seen the way his group can threaten.
Penaud and raka just revealed their characteristic as strike runners capable of undoing a defence with moments of individual brilliance, while Antoine Dupont was lively around the border of this breakdown after he arrived on to go.
The prospect of playing their Six Nations rivals can also bring the 80-minute and consistency, concentration performances France have not yet put in at the tournament.
But with Pool Cs runners-up set on a course that would see them prevent tournament favourites New Zealand they might feel that the meeting with England is one they can afford to lose.
Frances Gregory Alldritt:Its been a really, very challenging game. Today, physical players were faced by us. We knew that it was going to be very tough but we have qualified now so we are really very happy for this.
On borders France can take out of the game:Our participation as well as the intensity we place about the Tongans, and well get back to work next week to face England.
Tongas Siale Piutau:The boys revealed. We wanted to playwith. Obviously weve got that physicality but our mistakes once more cost us in the first half but I am proud of their efforts by the boys.
Clearly we didnt take that final kick-off and we paid the price tag, but both proud of the boys and also how we turned up now.
France: Medard Vakatawa Raka Serin; Poirot Slimani Vahaamahina, Lauret, Ollivon, Alldritt.
Replacements: Guirado Setiano Roux, Camara Lopez, Barassi.
Tonga: Veainu, Vuna, Hingano Halaifonua; Faiva, Takulua; Fisiihoi, Ngauamo, Fia; Lousi, Fifita, Kalamafoni, Kapeli, Vaipulu.
Replacements: Sakalia Halanukonuka Manu, Fukofuka, Fosita, Pakalani.
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