Despite dominating for most of their showdown in Cairo, tournament favourites Spain had to bow to the superior finishing of the Italians, while the Asians proved too good for a Paraguay side that failed to live up to the expectations they had generated in the first round.
Already one goal to the good thanks to Kim Bo Kyung's opener, the Taeguk Warriors underlined their superiority when Kim Min Woo added a second five minutes later. Collecting a pass on the right of the Paraguayan box, the Yonsei University man shaped as if to play a pass out to the other wing before unleashing a fierce drive past startled Albirroja goalkeeper Joel Silva.
Last-ditch defence: On top for long periods against their old rivals, ten-man Spain were rarely troubled in defence, until their opponents took the lead that is. Suddenly goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo found himself frequently in action, and never more so than when a long ball came sailing over the top of the Spanish defence and into the path of Mattia Mustacchio.
The Atletico Madrid custodian was alert to the danger, however, and came speeding out of the box to improvise an amazing headed clearance fully 30 metres from his line. Sadly for Asenjo and his team-mates his speedy intervention only provided temporary respite.
2002 revisited: With the majority of Cairo's football fans saving themselves for tomorrow's big game between the home favourites and Costa Rica, it was left to a noisy band of around 100 Korea Republic supporters to provide the atmosphere at the Cairo International Stadium.
Having assembled well before the kick-off, the Asian contingent put on quite a spectacle, singing Ludwig van Beethoven's Ode to Joy and moving their bodies up and down in unison. Remarkably, they kept the show going for the whole 90 minutes, bringing back welcome memories of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™.
15 - The number of penalties Spain have successfully converted at the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals, making them the most prolific penalty-takers in the history of the tournament. That figure would have been 16 had Aaron Niguez not had his second penalty of the day superbly saved by Vincenzo Fiorillo.
"Everyone knows that this is the Italian style! They play weakly in the group and better in the knockout stage. Spain have a perfect start and then, what happens next is anyone's guess," AsadFelistin (USA) comments on the differing fortunes of Italy and Spain.
Tomorrow's Round of 16 ties
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