U20 excitement heats up with quarterfinals

U20 excitement heats up with quarterfinals

U20 excitement heats up with quarterfinals

Korea Republic’s Woo Jusung (L) and Song Juhun (C) celebrate after scoring a goal during their FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 Round of 16 football match between Columbia and Korea Republic at the Avni Aker stadium in Trabzon. AA photo

As the Iraqi team kept surprising football fans with an unexpected success, the July 3 action at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey produced two matches needing extra time, one of which ended in the tournament’s first penalty shoot-out.

The quarterfinals excitement will continue with France-Uzbekistanface-off in the Black Sea region of Rize and Uruguay-Spain match in the northwestern Bursa tomorrow.

Iraq will play against Korea the next day, hours before Ghana challenges Chili.

Consequently, three group winners – including two supposed contenders for the title in the shape of Portugal and Colombia – were forced to bid farewell to the competition.

Los Cafeteros and A Selecção das Quinas were surprisingly ousted by Korea Republic and Ghana respectively, while Chile beat Croatia courtesy of two late goals.

Three Asian teams

Iraq continued their amazing run at Turkey 2013 by overcoming a ten-man Paraguay side in extra time. It was a particularly memorable day for the continent of Asia, which will have three representatives in the quarterfinals of this event for the very first time.

“There is a good chance that when Ebenezer Assifuah blew out the 20 candles on his birthday cake on Wednesday morning, a desire for Ghana to reach the quarter-finals of the competition for the fifth time was high up on his list of wishes,” FIFA said on its official website.

“And his team-mates did not let him down, seeing off Portugal, the tournament’s highest-scoring side, in a thrilling match. The Ghanaians, the last third-placed team to qualify for the knockout stage, did well to shackle on-form Portuguese forward Bruma and came back from 2-1 down in the second half to book a last-eight showdown with Chile.”

Mohican haircut

In a game in which Chile and Croatia played in the unfamiliar colors of white and blue respectively, the change of look ended up best suiting the South Americans, who scored twice in the last ten minutes to claim a memorable 2-0 victory over their European opponents. The match proved once and for all that the Mohican is decidedly the haircut of choice at Turkey 2013, with no fewer than five players on the pitch boasting the trend, one of whom, Nicolas Castillo, put it to good use by heading the Chileans into the lead in the 81st minute. “Given this excellent result, it is as yet unknown whether or not the forward, who also serves as the team barber, will now insist that all of his team-mates adopt the same style,” FIFA website said.

The role of goalkeeper is often described as a thankless task. A good performance rarely attracts the same level of attention as that of a striker, and when a mistake is made, everyone tends to remember. The tournament, however, saw outstanding goalkeeping performances recorded across the board.

Ghana No1 Eric Antwi kept Portugal’s formidable attack at bay, and will doubtless treasure the memory of the excellent double stop he made from Andre Gomes and then Ricardo. Antwi, whose ensuing crossbar-swinging celebration was almost as spectacular as his saves, can take a large part of the credit.