When Argentina take on Egypt in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Round of 16 in Medellin this Tuesday, it will be the fourth time the two sides have met at the tournament in the last ten years. Based on past results, the South Americans have every reason to be confident of progressing.
Argentina - Egypt, Tuesday, 9 August, Medellin, 17.00 (local time)
Six-time U-20 world champions Argentina are rightly considered hot favourites for Tuesday's clash against Egypt, although both sides qualified from their respective first-round sections with seven points. Walter Perazzo's Albiceleste are one of only three teams yet to concede a goal in the tournament, thanks in large part to a solid defensive unit in front of goalkeeper Esteban Andrada. The South Americans will, however, be without the suspended Roberto Pereyra for the game, while captain German Pezzella has been ruled out through injury.
Egypt were similarly impressive inthe group stage, recording victories against Panama and Austria, as well as a respectable draw against Brazil, who just pipped them to top spot on goal difference. The Africans displayed their full potential in the win against Austria and look to have a hugely encouraging talent on their hands in Mohamed Ibrahim. The 19-year-old striker's hat-trick in the 4-0 success catapulted him to the top of the current scoring charts.
0 – These two teams have met at three previous FIFA U-20 World Cups, though Egypt will certainly not be looking to their past record for inspiration. The Africans are yet to beat their South American counterparts and lost the most recent encounter in the group stages of Netherlands 2005, a certain Lionel Messi scoring the opener in a 2-0 victory. At the 2003 edition in the United Arab Emirates, the Albiceleste required extra time to secure a 2-1 success. Two years earlier, the Pharaohs suffered the humiliation of a 7-1 reverse against the hosts of that year's tournament.
“This Egyptian team is really very good. We have a lot of talented players and I hope some of them can make the step up to the senior national side. We came here to play football and entertain the fans. I don't know how far we'll get in the tournament, but we'll do our best to stay as long as possible. For me, the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Colombia are the favourites. Those teams are all very strong," Egypt coach El Sayed Diaa.
"Egypt are a good side and we need to be wary of them, but not excessively so. They played very well against Brazil, so I think it's going to be a well-balanced affair - like all World Cup matches really," Argentina coach Walter Perazzo.