Zambia looking for huge upset
© Foto-net

Their pride wounded after narrowly avoiding defeat in their opening Group B game against Uruguay, Spain will be looking to reproduce the kind of form that made them European champions against tonight's opponents Zambia. The Africans, for their part, remain confident they are up to the challenge.

The games
Zambia v Spain, Burnaby, 4 July, 19:45 (local time)

The stakes
Zambia could hardly be in better mental shape heading into the match against Spain, with everyone in the squad insisting they can win. Their coach George Lwandamina will be hoping his side perform against the European champions the way they did in the first half against Jordan. And in this respect, the surging runs of Sebastian Mwansa and Emmanuel Mayuka could well prove crucial. In the opposing camp, Gines Melendez may well ring the changes and start with some of the players who came off the bench to help rescue a point against the Celeste. No one doubts that Spain have the resources to deal with the most challenging of situations, but their fans want to see them progress from the group without a repeat of the last Sunday's agony.

The players
Apart from Javi Garcia, who has been struggling to shake off a muscle strain and may well be rested for the game, Spain have no one injured or suspended for the game. The Copper Bullets, meanwhile, will have to do without striker Rodger Kola, who picked up a red card in his opening game, but they will be boosted by the arrival in Canada of talented attacking midfielder Clifford Mulenga.

The past
The teams played out a scoreless draw in their only other meeting at a FIFA U-20 World Cup - a group stage meeting at Nigeria 1999, a tournament the Selección went on to win. After losing their first two matches against African opposition in this competition (1-0 to the hosts at Tunisia 1977, and 1-0 to Algeria at Japan 1979), the Iberians have subsequently done well against CAF opponents, recording four wins and three draws.

The words
Clifford Mulenga, Zambia midfielder.
"A draw is a good result in the opening game of a tournament. Have the team missed me? Well, I've missed them! I believe we're equipped to beat Spain, even if they have some very dangerous players. I'm very keen to play after my long trip here."

Juan Manuel Mata, Spain striker. "What concerns us most about Zambia is their players' physical strength, as we've seen how they can maintain the same rhythm for the full ninety minutes. For our part, we very keen to show how well we can play, and hopefully we can perform with the same spirit we showed in the latter stages of the Uruguay game."