Czech Republic and Argentina meet on Sunday 22 July in Toronto to decide the destination of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007. The South Americans, reigning U-20 champions, will be hoping for their sixth world title in the category, while the eastern Europeans will be making their first appearance in the Final.
On 30 June last, Argentina and Czech Republic played out a 0-0 draw in their opening Group E game in Canada. Three weeks on and they square off once more, this time with the world title at stake. The Europeans booked their place in the decider courtesy of a 2-0 win over Austria in Edmonton, while the Albiceleste earned the right to face them thanks to a 3-0 win over Chile in Toronto.
Both sides will be missing first-choice players on Sunday. Miroslav Soukup will have to do without Petr Janda after he picked up his second yellow card in the semi-final. Hugo Tocalli, for his part, needs to find replacements for several of his preferred starting XI, with regular captain Matías Cahais and Claudio Jacob suspended, and Angel Di Maria, Mauro Zarate and Damian Escudero out with an assortment of injuries.
The teams have met twice before in this tournament. At Mexico 1983 the Albiceleste beat the former Czechoslovakia 2-0, a match in which Hugo Tocalli's assistant, Jorge Theiler, actually played. Their other meeting was the 0-0 draw the pair played out in their Group E opener at Canada 2007.
As far as Finals are concerned, Argentina have a distinct advantage in that this will be their fifth appearance in the ultimate game in just 12 years. The Czechs, for their part, will be appearing in their first FIFA World Cup Final since independence.
"I'm not surprised my team have reached the final. When we left Buenos Aires, I said I wanted us to play the kind of football that we Argentinians enjoy and are passionate about. Fortunately, we've managed to do that. However, we have several players injured and suspended, which concerns me ahead of the game. I have faith in my squad, although naturally it's a different one now." Hugo Tocalli, Argentina coach.
"If our defence functions as it should, then things will go
well for us. We already showed against Austria that we're able
to play well and score. Perhaps some of my players have been
keeping some energy in reserve to score for us in the final."
Miroslav Soukup, Czech Republic coach.