Part two of our preview takes a look at today’s fixtures and the deciding factors that could determine each result.
Portugal v Ghana
Portugal will be hoping that rumours of star striker Bruma joining Chelsea won’t put the striker off the pace coming into today’s clash. The 18-year-old is wanted by Jose Mourinho and has a £15 million pricetag to his name. The Sporting whizzkid has already netted five times during the group stage to see his Portugal side travel this far in the tournament, where they will now consider themselves one of the favourites. It is arguable that they have the easier side to the draw and if they are to win today, an easier route to the final. Ghana won’t back down easily though and despite an opening day thrashing by France they have recovered well and put in a very respectable performance against Spain before securing their second round place by destroying USA. Ebenezer Assufiah will be hunting more goals to move on from his double in that game.
Croatia v Chile
Croatia didn’t come through the group stage too convincingly but managed to finish top of the pile. They dropped points against Uzbekistan, who have since proved themselves with a win over Greece yesterday, and narrowly won against Uruguay and weak links New Zealand. However, winning is all that matters and Croatia will be hoping for more of the same. Marko Livaja remains a key player while Ante Rebic is proving his goalscoring prowess with two goals so far. Chile came out of their group with a win, a draw and a loss and haven’t been as impressive as some would expect. They beat Egypt on the first matchday, excusably drew with a strong England side but lost their final game against Iraq and therefore conceded top of the group. Nicolas Castillo has been in typically good form for them as he looks to make his mark on Europe during this tournament. He could be the difference today.
Colombia v South Korea
Juan Fernando Quintero has lived up to expectations so far this tournament but we can still see more from the young Colombian. He guided his side to top of their group, aided by the goals of star striker Jhon Cordoba. They only dropped points against Australia in what was a slow start for the South American champions but three points against the host nation and a thrashing of El Salvador has showed signs that they are back on form and ready to take this tournament by storm. They were highly tipped as one of the favourites to win this tournament from the start and are looking increasingly likely to do so. South Korea’s best moment of this tournament was holding Portugal to a draw in Group B. They disappointingly lost against Nigeria in their final group game to condemn them to third place but qualified thanks to their opening win against Cuba. The South Koreans haven’t proved to be anything spectacular but have made their bow in this level of world football with the goals of Ryu Seung-Woo, who scored a belter against Portugal.
Iraq v Paraguay
Iraq have to be the shock nation of the tournament so far. After finishing top of their group, which included Chile, England and African champions Egypt, they have more proving to do against South American Youth Championship runners-up Paraguay. The Iraqis have really played together, proven by their six goals being shared between six different players, and have been the epitome of team spirit so far in this competition. Their highlight was surely a final matchday win against Chile to secure them the group. Paraguay meanwhile only finished second in their group because they were equal on points, goal difference, goals scored and head-to-head against Greece, and positioning was determined by a random draw. There should be more to come from the Paraguayans as they disappointed fans with only taking a point from Mali. A win against Mexico raised spirits but they need to perform in this match to show what they are capable of and prove that they do have a shout at the title in Turkey. Brian Montenegro and Derlis Gonzalez remain key players for the South Americans.
- FIFA U20 World Cup Round-Of-16 Preview (theyouthradar.com)
- FIFA U20 World Cup Preview: Team By Team Analysis (theyouthradar.com)
- FIFA U20 World Cup Preview – Group E (theyouthradar.com)
- FIFA U20 World Cup Preview – Group C (theyouthradar.com)
- FIFA U20 World Cup Preview – Group D (theyouthradar.com)
- FIFA U20 World Cup Preview – Group F (theyouthradar.com)