Under-20 World Cup Round-Up

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar June 11, 2019 00:34

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Under-20 World Cup Round-Up

By Satish Sekar in Guimarães © Satish Sekar (June 6th 2019)

Nations League

Taking time out from Poland’s Under-20 World Cup to attend the first ever UEFA Nations League Finals. So far Portugal went through to Sunday’s final with a Cristiano Ronaldo masterclass beating Switzerland, and England had cause to rue VAR and then defensive errors against the Dutch.

The 3rd/4th place match will be in Guimarães tomorrow afternoon – a Portugal Legends v UEFA Legends match takes place this evening in Porto – and the final will be contested by the Netherlands and Portugal.

Young Stars Making their Way

Meanwhile, young stars in the making continue to impress and seek future opportunities – Lionel Messi among others shone here, as did Mohamed Salah. Africa lost one representative in the Group Stage, South Africa, and was certain to lose at least one more in the last 16 as Nigeria and Sénégal faced each other.

The beaten-finalists from the Under-20 AFCON the Young Teranga Lions beat the Flying Eagles 2-1 in Łódź. Amadou Sagna and Ibrahima Niane put Sénégal ahead before half time and Anikieme Okon pulled one back for Nigeria, but the Flying Eagles could not find an equaliser and departed with accusations of corruption flying against head coach Paul Aigbogun. The NFF (Nigerian Football Federation) rubbished the accusations.

The battle of the far-east was settled by a late Oh Sehun header, which sent Korean Republic (South Korea) through at Japan’s expense after Yuta Goke’s effort was disallowed when VAR proved there had been an offside in the build-up.

Colombia edged New Zealand on penalties, and Under-20 AFCON champions, Mali sent the most successful nation in the history of the competition, Argentina, packing on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Sambou Sissoko scored the decisive penalty with Tomas Chancalay seeing his effort saved by Youssuf koita. Earlier Adolfo Gaich gave Argentina the lead after 49 minutes, capitalising on a defensive error. Abdoulaye Diaby equalised after 67 minutes before deflecting Ezequiel Barco’s shot into his own net in the early stages of extra time. A last gasp equaliser by Boubacar Konté sent the tie to penalties, and Argentina home.

Upsets

The previously impressive Uruguay – they won all of their Group stage matches – were given a rude awakening by Ecuador. Ronald Araujo’s goal after 11 minutes gave Uruguay the lead for 20 minutes. Alexander Alvarez was fouled by Ezequiel Busquets, dusted himself off and dispatched the ensuing penalty. Sergio Quintero scored the winner after 75 minutes and Ecuador’s second penalty for handball by Bruno Mendez was converted by Gonzalo Plata with 7 minutes remaining.

France are on their way home, conquered 2-3 by the USA in Bydgoszcz. Sebastian Soto gave the Americans the lead after 25 minutes and equalised after 75 – Amine Ghouri profited from Mousa Diaby’s excellent assist to level after 41 minutes and ten minutes after half time Nabil Alioui put France ahead. After 83 minutes Justin Rennick s broke French hearts with the winner.

History was sure to be made in Tychy as Ukraine or Panama would reach the quarter-finals. Ukraine did so with an emphatic 4-1 trouncing of the Central Americans. Leading 3-0 at half time through a Danylo Sikan brace (23 minutes and 45+1) sandwiching Denys Popov’s goal five minutes earlier, it was over bar the shouting. Ernesto Walker pulled one back five minutes after the break before Serhii Buletsa restored the three-goal cushion after 83 minutes.

Meanwhile, hosts, Poland, bowed out, defeated 1-0 by Italy in Gdinya. Andrea Pinamonti punished Dominic Steczyk’s handball from the spot with a Panenka after 38 minutes. That was the decisive moment as Poland departed, beaten 1-0. The quarter-finals will take place on June 7th and 8th.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar June 11, 2019 00:34