Uruguay spoils Iraq's fairy tale run after penalties, joining France in U-20 World Cup final
ISTANBUL - The Associated Press
Iraq's players react after being defeated by Uruguay in the semi final football match at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup at Hüseyin Avni Aker stadium in Trabzon. AFP photoIraq has been three minutes short of making history reaching a first intercontinental final Under-20 World Cup hosted in Turkey. However, those who staged of the biggest disappointment of the World football history, the 1950 Maracanazo, spoiled that dream during the dying breathes of a match played at the Avni Aker stadium in Trabzon.
Uruguay scored the equalizer in the 87th minute to draw with Iraq 1-1 and won the penalty shootout 7-6 to join France in the final.
Iraq midfielder Saif Salman sent the decisive spot-kick over the crossbar after both teams missed one penalty. Gianni Rodriguez had Uruguay's first attempt saved by Iraq goalkeeper Mohammed Hameed and Ali Faez also missed the first for Iraq as he hit the post.
Uruguay substitute Gonzalo Bueno leveled the score with a volley in the closing minutes of regulation after Iraq took the lead in the first half on a free kick by Ali Adnan.
Iraq missed the chance to reach the final of a FIFA tournament for the first time. Iraq's successful run to the semifinal has been warmly welcomed at home. Streets and cafes in Baghdad and other cities were the scene of jubilant celebrations after the wins over Paraguay and South Korea, but the streets remained calm on July 10.
Iraq also drew a lot of Turkish fans, who switched allegiance after the host team lost in the first knockout round.
France knocks out combative Ghana
Striker Florian Thauvin scored twice to give France a 2-1 win against Ghana in Bursa, sending "Les Bleus" through to the Under-20 World Cup final on July 10.
France will take on either Iraq or Uruguay, who played in the other semi-final showdown.
Two minutes before halftime, Thauvin was set up by Jean Christophe Bahebeck, dribbled past Ghana goalkeeper Eric Antwi and netted into the empty goal.
Ebenezer Assifuah equalized for Ghana in the 47th with his fifth goal of the tournament as he collected the ball with his back to the goal, held off three France defenders before directing a 20-meter strike past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
Thauvin found the net again coming in from the right and beating Antwi with a low shot at the near post in the 74th.
France defender Samuel Umtiti was sent off for receiving a second booking in the 80th and will miss the final.
France, improving on its best result of fourth two years ago, can become the first European winner since Spain in 1999, which has been the sole European victory in the competition for the past 20 years.
France, which had beaten Ghana 3-1 in the group stage two weeks ago, started the semifinal full of confidence following convincing wins in the knockout stage against Turkey (4-1) and Uzbekistan (4-0).
Ghana missed suspended key defenders Joseph Attamah and Lawrence Lartey as well as midfielder Moses Odjer, who scored the first goal in the 4-3 quarterfinal defeat of Chile.