Austria, Panama eye early points
© AFP

With Brazil, one of the tournament favourites, for company in Group E, both sides will be treating their curtain-raiser as a must-win affair.

The game
Austria-Panama, Friday 29 July, Cartagena, 5:30pm (local time)

The stakes
Defeat in their opener would make reaching the Round of 16 an uphill challenge for either of these teams. The Austrians will be favourites for victory, a circumstance of their impressive showing at the same tournament four years ago, when they reached the semi-finals, and the fact that they pipped the Netherlands to a berth in Colombia. Key to them achieving that could be the performance of Hertha Berlin striker Marco Djuricin. The Panamanians, for their part, will entrust Cecilio Waterman, arguably the star of their qualification, with getting them off to a successful start.

The stat
0 - The number of victories Panama have registered in nine attempts at the FIFA U-20 World Cup (eight losses, one draw). Seventeen teams have participated in but failed to win a game at the tournament, but none more than La Marea Roja, who are followed on the list by Uzbekistan and Trinidad and Tobago (zero victories from six games apiece).

The words
“We already anticipated adapting to the climatic conditions, because it's the key for success or failure. With the intense heat and extreme humidity, it's not easy to get acclimatised, but we will make a success of it,” Andreas Heraf, Austria coach

“This is a very committed team that can make history and knows what it wants. Everyone will see that in Colombia,” Luis Mejia, Panama goalkeeper