- Uruguay true to form in triumph
- Ukraine, New Zealand inch closer to history
- USA ground Flying Eagles
THE DAY REPLAYED – Uruguay, Ukraine and New Zealand all built on their opening victories on Monday, racking up a second consecutive win and joining already-qualified Italy and Senegal in the last 16 of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019.
The Ukrainians were the first team to ensure their passage to the knockout stage, for the fourth time in their history, by defeating Qatar 1-0 in Tychy. They can now approach their third and final Group D game against Nigeria – who lost to a United States side that played some attractive football and will advance from the section in the event of a victory over the Qataris on Thursday – without any pressure on their shoulders.
In Group C, the Uruguayans put in another trademark performance against Honduras, exhibiting solidity at the back and eye-catching speed on the counter-attack. Despite their six points, La Celeste had to wait until the end of the Norway-New Zealand match in Lodz to mathematically stamp their ticket for the second round.
The Kiwis showed more in the final third of the pitch than Pal Johansen’s charges, but were held at bay for over two thirds of the match by a strong and compact Scandinavian defence. New Zealand made the breakthrough 20 minutes from time via a powerful Gianni Stensness shot, and that effort, in addition to a John Kitolano own goal, saw the Oceania side through to the knockout rounds for the third successive tournament.
Goal of the day
Goal: 1-0 Gianni Stensness (71′)
Sensible switches: Like his Polish counterpart Jacek Magiera, who made three changes to his team on Sunday after an opening-day loss, Honduras coach Carlos Tabora brought five new faces into his starting XI to face Uruguay. While the move worked wonders for the hosts, the introduction of fresh blood did not spell success for the Hondurans, but they did put in a more resilient display compared to their game against New Zealand on Friday.
Super Soto: United States coach Tab Ramos also switched things up, fielding Sebastian Soto up front against Nigeria. The Hannover striker promptly repaid his coach’s faith in him, scoring a fine brace and adding the inspired touches and clinical finishes that were lacking in the USA’s first game versus Ukraine.
Four in a row: This is Ukraine’s fourth appearance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the fourth time they have qualified for the Round of 16. However, in 2001, 2005 and 2015, they fell at the first knockout hurdle, an undesirable run that coach Oleksandr Petrakov will be hoping comes to an end in Poland.
“We had to play intelligently today against a team that knows how to defend and that attacks using pace and long balls. I’ll remember the way we played and the attitude we demonstrated. We were aggressive and showed a different mindset from our first match.”
Carlos Tabora (Honduras coach)
Tuesday 28 May, all times local
Panama-France (Bydgoszcz, 18:00)
Saudi Arabia-Mali (Gdynia, 20:30)
Portugal-Argentina (Bielsko-Biala, 18:00)
South Africa-Korea Republic (Tychy, 20:30)