Victory sees Uruguay back on track
© AFP

Uruguay got their FIFA U-20 World Cup up and running as the South American side secured a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in Group F.

The pair had met at Colombia 2011, where both Juan Verzeri and Chris Milicich had been coaching the sides, as they did today. There was to be no repeat of the 1-1 draw in Cali though, as Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Nicolas Lopez got Uruguay their first win of Turkey 2013.

Both sides had suffered defeats in their first games of the tournament, but after impressing in the second-half against Croatia, Uruguay looked set to be a difficult ask for the Oceanic side.

New Zealand's task got tougher almost instantly when the South Americans made the perfect start through a stroke of genius from Giorgian De Arrascaeta. The attacking-midfielder was hauled down by Tim Payne 20-yards from goal, before dusting himself down and curling an unstoppable free-kick into the left top corner.

In a sun-baked Ataturk Stadium in Bursa, Uruguay dominated possession as New Zealand worked hard to limit opportunities and counter-attack. The skilful De Arrascaeta was proving to be a handful at the head of Los Charruas' midfield though.

Nicolas Lopez, brought in after starting the opening game on the bench, was next to have sight of goal. The top-scorer at the South American Youth Championships found himself in plenty of space on the edge of the New Zealand area, but a fine block by Simon Arms prevented him troubling Scott Basalaj in goal.

As half-time neared, the Junior All Whites went as close they had so far when good work down the right from Payne found Ryan Thomas, but his goal-bound effort nicked off Guillermo Varela and wide.

Lopez did manage to force Basalaj into a save early in the first-half, as the ball broke kindly for him inside the area, but his high shot on the turn was palmed over the bar well. Lopez created another chance all on his own soon after, skipping past two defenders into the area, however the finish was just over.

New Zealand defended stoutly, but the consistent pressure finally caved when the tall figure of Felipe Avenatti nodded down to Lopez and, though his initial effort struck the post, he was able to tap in for the goal that had seemingly been coming all half.

Uruguay now sit level on three points with Uzbekistan and Croatia, who play later this evening.