Six Hyundai Best Young Player candidates were in action as the knockout phase got underway today. FIFA.com reflects on their performances.
Ki Sung-Yueng: Korea Republic bowed out, and their No14 ended his campaign in disappointing fashion. His set-piece delivery, usually precise, was hit and miss, while he was caught out of position on occasions.
Nicolas Lodeiro: Uruguay introduced the Ajax prospect with the scores at 1-1 on 74 minutes. And although La Celeste emerged 2-1 winners, the 21-year-old made little contribution to the victory. In truth, his passing was wasteful and he dallied on the ball when presented with one shooting opportunity on the 82nd minute.
Jonathan Mensah: The 19-year-old Ghana centre-back was a rock in Rustenburg. He won headers against the imposing Jozy Altidore, disposed the crafty Landon Donovan, and launched himself in the way of a goal-bound Clint Dempsey shot. Mensah was undoubtedly crucial to his nation’s victory over USA.
Samuel Inkoom: The Basel defender started well, but gave the ball away cheaply and repeatedly thereafter against USA. He was outmuscled by Altidore far too easily in the second half, although the striker’s poor finish spared the Ghanaian’s blushes.
Andre Ayew: The Ghana winger began brightly, outfoxing two American adversaries down the left before feeding Kwadwo Asamoah, and it proved a prelude of what was to come. He ran at defenders throughout and, in extra time, created the winning goal for Asamoah Gyan. Ayew was duly named the Budweiser Man of the Match.
Jozy Altidore: The USA striker missed a couple of half-chances, but he did create them for himself with pace and power. Indeed, Altidore frightened his markers throughout, winning his fair share of headers and never giving up.