Under-20 World Cup Group Stage

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar June 8, 2019 21:37


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Under-20 World Cup Group Stage

By Satish Sekar in Kraków © Satish Sekar (May 31st 2019)


I should have been in Bielsko-Biało tonight watching the Amarjita bow out of the competition, but making an impact. Instead, I’m making plans and catching up on events in Poland after an eventful trip to Baku for the Europa League Final – an excellent match when football was allowed to do the talking.

Thabo Senong had assembled a decent squad, qualified against the odds in the absence of his top striker, and made a plea for assistance in preparation that fell on deaf ears, but we’ll deal with that in other articles.

The group stages are over. The big news is that Portugal and England’s conquerors, Norway, are the only third place teams heading home. Portugal’s 1-1 draw with South Africa saw Senong’s team claim their only point and Portugal become the only team to head home with 4 points. Argentina and Korea Republic (South Korea) qualified from Group F.

Norway depart after inflicting a record 12-0 thrashing of hapless Honduras. The Central Americans join fellow CONCACAF strugglers, México, in heading home bottom of their group. Uruguay and Oceania’s New Zealand advance from Group C to the knock-out stage. Honduras leave with the worst record in the competition, having suffered the heaviest defeat in the history of the whole competition. Their goal difference is a whopping -19 from just three matches.

Red Bull Salzburg’s Erling Håland, son of former Leeds United defender Alf-Inge Håland, set a competition record with nine – yes nine – goals in their final match against Honduras. They were the only goals that he scored in the tournament, but barring something very unusual should be enough to win him the Golden Boot. Well actually he did put the ball in the net against Uruguay, but VAR intervened to disallow it.

Knockout Rounds

Tahiti conceded 14 goals in their three matches without scoring – the other three teams in Group A, Sénégal, Colombia and hosts, Poland went through to the last 16. Group B also contributed 3 teams to the last 16, México departing with 3 losses, a goal difference of -5, and only one goal scored. Italy topped Group B, with Japan and Ecuador also qualifying.

Ukraine and the USA qualified as of right from Group D, while Paul Aigbogun’s Nigeria shrugged off the accusations back home to reach the last 16 and a match with fellow West-Africans, Sénégal. Qatar failed to gain a point, but conceded six without reply.

Saudi Arabia failed to gain a point and departed bottom of Group E, but there second match was a thriller, losing 4-3 to Mali. Panama did CONCACAF proud to qualify in third place, courtesy of a 2-1 defeat of Saudi Arabia, while France and former colony, Mali qualified as of right.

The last 16 matches are as follows: Colombia v New Zealand, Ukraine v Panama, Italy v Poland, Argentina v Mali, France v USA, Uruguay v Ecuador, Japan v Korea Republic and Sénégal v Nigeria.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar June 8, 2019 21:37