goals have been scored in Turkey 2013’s 50 matches, making for an impressive average of 2.98 goals per game. It means that, with two games still to play, this is already the second-highest-scoring FIFA U-20 World Cup of the past decade, having moved past Colombia 2011 (132), Canada 2007 (135), Netherlands 2005 (143) and UAE 2003 (119). There will, however, need to be a spectacular and unprecedented goal-fest in the final and third-place match if the tournament’s all-time record - Egypt 2009’s 167 - is to be equalled or broken.
of Turkey 2013’s 50 matches have ended either in a draw or in a victory by a one-goal margin, testament to the competitive and evenly matched nature of this competition. Fortunately, the scoreline conspicuous by its absence has been 0-0. Just one of the 50 games thus far, Mali-Greece, has finished goalless, an all-time low since the FIFA U-20 World Cup adopted a 24-team format.
successive FIFA U-20 World Cup matches without a win is the unenviable tournament record with which England returned home after failing to survive the group phase. Remarkably, the Young Lions have now failed to register a single victory in any of their last five appearances at this youth showpiece, and must look back 16 years – to a Michael Owen-inspired 1-0 win over Mexico at Malaysia 1997 – for their last success.
goals have established France as the tournament’s top scorers thus far, and eight different players have been responsible for establishing this substantial tally. The plethora of French goalscorers is reminiscent of the 1998 FIFA World Cup™ on home soil, when the trophy was secured by strikes by nine different Bleus players, in addition to one own goal. Whether Les Bleuets can repeat that success in this, their first FIFA U-20 World Cup final, will be revealed on Saturday.
years without an Asian semi-finalist was the run that Iraq brought to an end with their memorable run to the last four. Hakeem Shakir’s side also became the first team to go into extra time in three of their matches at a single FIFA U-20 World Cup, prevailing in the first two before losing out to Uruguay on penalties in the third. La Celeste’s triumph was the first U-20 semi-final decided by a shootout since Spain overcame the Soviet Union 4-3 on spot-kicks in 1985.
is the tally on which Portugal’s Bruma, Jese of Spain and Ghana star Ebenezer Assifuah are currently tied at the summit of the Turkey 2013 scoring chart. Of this trio, only Assifuah has the chance to add to his haul in Saturday’s concluding matches, although the Black Satellites’ No17 will know that Uruguay’s Nicolas Lopez and Yaya Sanogo of France are just a goal behind and could yet overtake him with a starring role in the final.
confederations were represented in the semi-finals, the fifth time in the tournament’s history that there has been such an even geographical spread at the tournament’s penultimate stage. All four teams will, of course, be playing for something on Saturday, when they battle for podium places in the final and third-place match.
South American sides successfully made it through the group stage, giving CONMEBOL the only 100 per cent record in this respect. Only one of this quartet remains standing, of course, with Uruguay now hoping to win the trophy in their second final appearance, having lost 2-1 to old rivals Argentina in the Malaysia 1997 decider.
of the Turkey 2013 quarter-finals went to extra time and/or penalties, continuing a remarkable sequence of last-eight ties going the distance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. This pattern of 75 per cent of the quarter-finals lasting 120 minutes, and often beyond, has now been maintained for five straight editions, with just five of the last 20 settled inside the regulation 90.
win at a FIFA 11-a-side tournament is the record with which El Salvador proudly returned home after recording their historic first-ever victory here at Turkey 2013. That 2-1 triumph over Australia, secured by their first goals at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, has already been described as the greatest achievement in the Central Americans’ football history.