In an evenly contested Group B, all four teams go into the second round of matches knowing a win would cement them a place in the Round of 16 here at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011. Both Portugal and Cameroon will have felt hard done by after their opening games with Uruguay and New Zealand respectively, having been the better sides but taken a solitary point apiece.
Portugal can take positives from their match with La Celeste, particularly in a second half when they created a clutch of clear goalscoring chances. Despite enjoying the upper hand, coach Ilidio Vale and his charges will surely not be too despondent with a draw in what, on paper, looks to be their toughest group encounter. They will need more clinical finishing from gifted striker Nelson Oliveira and his front-line colleagues this time around, however, when they take on a Cameroon side that are strong at the back and going forward.
Their African opponents, for their part, will have been duly disappointed by their draw with the Kiwis at the Estadio Pascual Guerrero in Cali. Not only did they give away the equaliser via a Serge Tchaha own goal, Martin Ndtoungou’s charges know they have let slide the chance to pick up three points against the section’s least-fancied team. Now needing to beat at least one of two big-name rivals to progress, coach Ndtoungou still feels his boys can do just that, particularly if key attacker Franck Ohandza continues his exciting opening-game form.
4 – The draw against Uruguay extended Portugal’s winless run at the FIFA U-20 World Cup to four games, following on from three consecutive defeats that included their Round of 16 exit at Canada 2007. The Lusitanians have previously gone four matches without winning in open play, spanning the 1991 and 1993 editions of this competition, though the first of that sequence was the penalty shoot-out victory over Brazil in the 1991 final on home soil.
“Luck wasn’t on our side against New Zealand and their keeper played really well too. But I still feel we can qualify for the next round. We’ve got a strong squad but we need to iron out a few flaws,” Cameroon coach Martin Ndtoungou.
“The two sides showed each other a lot of respect in our first game, but we deserved to win because we played very intelligently in the second half. Now that the opening game’s over with, I think our players will relax a bit. We’ve got a very well-balanced squad,” Portugal coach Ilidio Vale.