Spain lead knockout scramble
© Foto-net

THE DAY REPLAYED - Spain fired their way into the Round of 16 thanks to a hat-trick by Adrian Lopez but not without a scare against Jordan as Zambia and Uruguay joined the Group B winners in the knockout stages. Group F also reached a climax, with Japan finishing top ahead of Nigeria as Costa Rica came from behind to stun Scotland and Korea DPR learned they will be heading home, despite not being in action. Not insignificantly, the day's results will have Brazil smiling as their three points earned is now enough to put them in the next round.

Adrian Lopez became the second player to score a hat trick at Canada 2007 and took his tally to a tournament-best four when he sent Spain into a 3-0 lead by half-time in Burnaby, though Jordan were to hit back strongly after the break, striking twice after barely ten minutes.

Anas Hijah sparked a counterattack which Loiy Al Zaideh finished smartly to give Jordan heart and hope before Abdallah Salim reduced the deficit to a single goal with a beautiful curling free-kick from 25 yards. Spain looked to be on the ropes at that stage but a header by Marcos Garcia eleven minutes from time made the result a touch more respectable and ensured they reached the next phase at the top of the standings.

Meanwhile, across in Victoria, Zambia claimed the runners-up spot in Group B by upsetting Uruguay 2-0, though defeat was not too costly for the South Americans as their haul of four points is enough to ensure they will take one of the best third-place finishes at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Goalkeeper Mauro Goicoechea set the tone of the match in the 19th minute when his failed clearance fell to Emmanuel Mayuka and the Uruguayan dragged him down, conceding a penalty and earning a red card in the process.

Zambia's Clifford Mulenga converted from the spot, but the player numbers were evened up shortly before half-time when Zambia's Henry Nyambe was sent off for an ugly challenge on Mauricio Prieto. Despite that form of parity, Uruguay could not draw level on goals and Rodgers Kola made the victory safe for Zambia when he netted from close range in the second half.

Scouting mission
Zambia's players and coaching staff stayed behind at the Royal Athletic Park to watch their Round of 16 opponents in action, knowing that the Group F runners-up that they will meet would be determined by the outcome of the Japan-Nigeria clash. Japan started with only three players who had significant playing time in their previous two matches and Nigeria had the better of a sloppy first half. Brown Ideye released Akeem Agbetu but goalkeeper Yohei Takeda got down well to save his shot and later he did well to deny Ideye, who had several opportunities to open the scoring but spurned all of them.

Japan played better on the break in the second half and Nigeria goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa was their hero as he held their opponents at bay and the 0-0 draw meant Japan won the group and Zambia could look forward to an all-African second round match against Nigeria in Ottawa on 12 July. Japan will be in action a day earlier in Victoria against Czech Republic.

Back at Burnaby's Swangard Stadium, a man with a very Scottish name sank Scotland as Jonathan McDonald scored with virtually the last kick of the match to give Costa Rica a 2-1 last-gasp win. Motherwell defender Mark Reynolds got the opener for Scotland when he tucked a left-footer away in the 18th minute.

Costa Rica looked much stronger after the break and Pablo Herrera equalised on 57 minutes after Jean Solorzano completely missed his kick and accidentally created what looked like a perfect dummy. McDonald hit the angle of Scotland's post and crossbar as Costa Rica pushed for another and he managed just that with a late winner in added time.