After their victorious debuts in groups C and D respectively, and thanks to draws elsewhere in their sections, Turkey and Greece can all but book their places in the FIFA U-20 World Cup knockout stages on Matchday 2.
The picture on day five of Turkey 2013 is not quite so rosy for El Salvador and Mexico, who are without points after their respective opening defeats by the hosts and the Greeks. Both sides must win their second games to stand any real chance of staying in the tournament. And with so much at stake, it promises to be a dramatic round of matches.
The Match of the Day
Mexico-Paraguay, Group D, 25 June 2013, 18:00 (local time)
After suffering a surprise defeat against first-timers Greece in their Group D opener, Mexico cannot afford another slip-up in their second outing. El Tri, the reigning CONCACAF champions, are bottom of the group and desperately need three points against Paraguay. La Albirroja, however, will be no pushovers, and will be keen to take advantage of their rivals' perilous situation.
The only previous FIFA U-20 World Cup meeting between the sides came in 1985. On the pitch that day was Mexico's current senior coach, Jose Manuel de la Torre, who helped El Tri to a 2-0 victory. If Mexico are to overcome Paraguay this time around, much will depend on the sharpness of their strikers. Mexico converted only one of their 20 chances against Greece, and ultimately paid a heavy price.
The Other Highlights
In Group C, Australia and El Salvador will face each other for the first time in a FIFA competition. The Socceroos, who opened Turkey 2013 with an impressive draw against much-fancied Colombia, will be searching for their 17th finals victory. El Salvador, meanwhile, will be out to restore some pride and record their first points at a FIFA U-20 World Cup, following their heavy opening defeat by Turkey.
As for the hosts, they will be keen to build on their strong start with another victory. Their second opponents are Colombia, who badly need three points after their opening draw against Australia. The match will bring back memories for Cafetero goalkeeper Cristian Bonilla, who faced the Turks at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009. That game, the only previous meeting between the sides at youth level, finished in a 1-1 draw.
The day's other fixture pits debutants Greece, the surprise package of Turkey 2013 so far, against Mali. The Greeks, who currently top Group D, will be hoping for another clinical display from their forwards, while their African opponents will be out to claim their first victory of this year's competition. The Eagles drew their opener against Paraguay, which means they have already improved on their previous showing at Colombia 2011, where they finished bottom of their group without a goal or point.
The Player to Watch
Jorge Espericueta (Mexico)
A driving force in Mexico's midfield, Jorge Espericueta gave another demonstration of his talent in El Tri's group debut against Greece. Espericueta, who won the FIFA U-17 World Cup and adidas Silver Ball on home soil in 2011, scored a superb free-kick in that game, but it was not enough to save his side from defeat. The young Mexican knows there is no room for error against Paraguay, and will be keen to help his team atone for their opening loss.
18 – The number of chances Colombia wasted in their search for a second, winning goal against Australia in their Turkey 2013 opener. Despite all their opportunities, Carlos Restrepo's forwards only managed to find the net once, through Jhon Cordoba's equaliser. Los Cafeteros will need to sharpen up their finishing if they are to take three points against Group C leaders Turkey.
Si pudiéramos regresar el tiempo, creo que haríamos exactamente lo mismo. Son desgracias del fútbol! Ni modo que esto sigue! #VamosMéxico
— Antonio Briseño (@pollobv) June 22, 2013
"If we could turn back time, I think that we would do everything exactly the same way. That is just the way of football! However, we go on!" The Mexico captain reacting to their late defeat against Greece.