Neither of the qualification slots in Group F have been taken yet, although Argentina are in pole position to claim one of them. All that the section leaders need to do is avoid defeat in their final game on Thursday against Korea DPR, who are propping up the group and need something special if they are to progress to the last 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011.
Argentina-Korea DPR, Thursday 4 August, Medellin, 17.00 (local time)
Dominant in an albeit narrow win over Mexico, Argentina were then held in check by an obdurate England side. Superb against the Mexicans and anonymous against the English, attacking midfielder Erik Lamela is the man who makes the Albiceleste front line tick, although Juan Iturbe can also be relied upon to open up defences should the new Roma signing be having an off day. Aside from their obvious attacking threat, Argentina are also formidable at the back and have yet to concede a goal at Colombia 2011.
That particular statistic makes the North Koreans’ task even more onerous, especially as they have yet to score in the competition. Stubborn yet enterprising in their first outing against England, the Young Chollimas fell apart against Mexico, shipping three goals without creating a single chance. Having set their sights on a top-two finish, Jo Tong-Sop and his charges face an early trip home unless strike duo Pak Song-Chol and Jong Il-Gwan can get their act together and conjure up some goals.
1 - The number of previous appearances Korea DPR have made at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the number of times they have faced Argentina in the competition. That meeting came at Canada 2007, when a Sergio Aguero goal gave La Albiceleste a 1-0 win en route to the title.
Walter Perazzo, Argentina coach: “We’ve only let in one goal in two matches but, as everyone knows, when the draw was made this group was called the ‘group of death’. There’s a good reason for that: every team in it is tough and that makes it hard to score goals.”
Jo Tong-Sop, Korea DPR coach: “The Argentina game is our last opportunity and we need to be at our best for it, both mentally and physically. We only have a remote chance of going through, but we’ll do whatever we can to make it.”