Clifford Mulenga and his Zambian team-mates are confident they can beat Uruguay in their final Group B encounter in Victoria this Saturday. That said, the African side know they will be up against a Charrúa team with four points already in the bag and ambitions of their own to pip Spain to top spot in the group. With so many different permutations still possible in Group B, the final picture will only be clear after the results and goals have been tallied tomorrow evening.
With the arrival of Clifford Mulenga in Canada, Zambia have become an unquestionably more cohesive and formidable unit. The creative midfielder linked up extremely well with Sebastian Mwansa against Spain on Wednesday, with the resulting moves keeping the European champions on the ropes in the latter stages of the game. The return of striker Rogers Kola will also be of concern to Uruguay, who were twice saved by the woodwork in their last game against Jordan. The Celeste looked particularly uncomfortable dealing with their opponents' counter-attacks and will need to be extra vigilant against the forceful Zambians to secure the point they need to remain masters of their own destiny.
Neither side have any players injured or suspended for the game, with Zambia welcoming back Rogers Kola, who served a one-match suspension against Spain.
The teams have never met before in any category. Uruguay will be hoping to extend their record of never having lost a final group game at the FIFA U-20 World Cup (four wins and four draws) but will not need reminding that they have lost their last two fixtures against African opposition in this tournament. Both defeats came against Mali at Nigeria 1999, when they went down 2-1 in the group phase and then 1-0 in the match for third place.
"My players are improving by the game. Against Spain they dealt well with the pressure of kicking off their campaign against such a powerful side. I'm sure we'll play better against Zambia than we did against Jordan. We were lacking some competitive matches, but now we're finding our rhythm." Gustavo Ferrin, Uruguay coach.
"I'm convinced we'll beat Uruguay. We're working hard to be more ruthless with the goalscoring chances we create. Uruguay are a very good side, but, as I see it, they're a team we can beat." Clifford Mulenga, Zambia midfielder.