Spain waltzed into the Round of 16 having won all three matches and scored 11 goals in the process. Korea Republic went through having lost their last two outings. Will it prove the mismatch many expect, or will David conquer Goliath amid the Manizales mountains?
Spain-Korea Republic, Wednesday 10 August, Manizales, 17.00 (local time)
Julen Lopetegui and Lee Kwang Jong both have all their players at their disposal as they plot their way into a quarter-final against Brazil or Saudi Arabia. The former will have some difficult decisions to make, given that he rested a couple of first-choice players during a 5-1 win over Australia in which the incomers impressed. Sergio Canales has dazzled after missing Spain's opener through injury, while Rodrigo and Alvaro Vazquez have both showcased their finishing prowess. The collective work of the Korea Republic team is regarded as their strength, though in Lee Ki Je and Kim Young Uk they have players capable of turning a game. Can they tick a box that three teams failed to in the first phase and find a way to neutralise La Roja's gorgeous passing football?
6 – goals is what made the first half of Spain's victory over Australia the joint-highest scoring period in FIFA U-20 World Cup history. La Roja were 5-1 up after 31 minutes, and that is how it finished. Korea Republic were involved in the other six-goal half, though they trailed 6-0 to Brazil en route to a 10-3 loss in 1997.
Sergi Roberto, Spain forward: “Korea Republic are very disciplined and have a lot of speed. They will be very tough to beat. This is a World Cup. We know how important this game is. If we lose we are going home. It's like a final for us. We have to win to be in the quarter-finals.”
Choi Sung Guen, Korea Republic midfielder: “Spain are a strong side with good skills, possession of the ball, a good passing game. So we, even our forwards, have to put pressure on them so that we'll be able to play our own game. The confidence is building up within the group, and we're eager to surprise the world [by beating Spain]."