THE DAY REPLAYED - The FIFA U-20 World Cup hosts might have been celebrating Canada Day but Chile paid no heed to the spirit of celebration on the national holiday as they opened up their Group A campaign with handsome 3-0 victory. Elsewhere, Japan outclassed Scotland, Jordan held Zambia, Uruguay were pegged back by a resurgent Spain and Nigeria squeezed past Costa Rica amid a hectic schedule across the country.
In Toronto, Chile opened the scoring against Canada on 25 minutes after a harmless-looking ball by Dagoberto Currimilla confused Marcus Haber and Nicolas Medina accepted the gift and hammered past Asmir Begovic from close range. The Canadians, looking swamped and out of their depth for large parts of the match, were again undone in the 54th minute when Carlos Carmona nodded home from inches out after a free kick from the left was headed back across the line. Jaime Grondona wrapped up the points and ended any hopes of an unlikely Canadian comeback when he rounded off a fluid eight-pass move, supplying the finishing touch with his very first kick after coming on as a substitute.
A sell-out crowd at Victoria's Royal Athletic Park saw Japan storm into life with a 3-1 win over Scotland in Group F. Japan took the lead just before half-time after an error by Scotland skipper Scott Cuthbert presented a chance to Yosuke Kashiwagi, who gladly accepted. Tsukasa Umesaki's long-range strike made it 2-0 in the 57th minute and Jun Aoyama added a third after 79 before substitute Ross Campbell netted for the dispirited Scots with eight minutes remaining.
Nigeria, dancing to the beat of an enjoyable musical accompaniment by compatriots in the lively stands, took the match to Costa Rica from the start of the concluding part of Victoria's double-header. Brown Ideye caused them all manner of problems with his agile, powerful running and he hit the crossbar in the 18th minute. Nigeria goalkeeper Moses Ocheje had to be stretchered off after hurting his neck in a collision just after half-time but the Africans were smiling again when Uwa Echiejile's corner found emerging star Ideye, who watched with joy as his header looped over the outstretched hand of Ticos' goalkeeper Alfonso Quesada in the 75th minute for the game's solitary goal.
Over in Burnaby, the clash between Jordan and Zambia had an explosive start when Tariq Al Jumah was sent off for handling the ball near the goal line to keep out a header by Dennis Banda. Fwayo Tembo scored from the resulting penalty after eight minutes and, at that stage, Zambia looked set to run away with it. However, a sloppy clearance by William Njobvu just before the interval put the pressure on his own goalkeeper Jacob Banda and Jordan's Abdallah Salim beat him to it to equalise. That gave Jordan their first ever U-20 World Cup point, with Zambia's Rodgers Kola also seeing red before the break after an off-the-ball incident as both sides finished with ten men.
Spain fight back
That was followed by a classic as Spain came from two down to snatch a point against Uruguay. The South Americans came closest to going in front in the opening period as Spanish goalkeeper and captain Adan was literally forced to sit on the ball amid a frantic scramble, where Edinson Cavani, Juan Surraco and Luis Suarez all failed to find the decisive touch. The Uruguayans scored first two minutes after the restart when Cavani converted a pass from the left by Luis Suárez, who in turn had received a good ball by Marcel Roman.
Nine minutes later it was 2-0 as a cutting combination was forged through the centre by Roman and Suarez, who did not hesitate to shoot from outside the area to fire past Adan. In a twist to the tale, Spain pulled one back with a header by Adrian Lopez after a long pass from Antonio Barragan and, deep into stoppage time, Diego Capel grabbed a dramatic leveller with a clever lob over stranded goalkeeper Mauro Goicoechea.