THE DAY REPLAYED: The opening stages of major tournaments rarely pass without at least one of the favourites suffering a setback, and the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 was no exception. On the second day of action, it was the highly-fancied Mexicans who slipped up, while South American champions Colombia had to settle for a draw. Indeed, Saturday’s encounters left no doubt about the level playing field among this year’s participants.
The despondent faces of the pre-tournament title contenders were in marked contrast to the expressions of delight the host nation’s performance caused. Turkey got off to the perfect start and can, along with their passionate fans, confidently look forward to the weeks ahead. With Paraguay and Mali sharing the points in the fourth match of the day, FIFA.com rounds up all the latest action from Turkey.
Group C - Trabzon
Colombia 1-1 Australia, (Cordoba 78’; De Silva 46’)
Turkey 3-0 El Salvador (Ucan 9’, Sahin 46’ 63’)
Group D - Gaziantep
Mexico 1-2 Greece, (Espericueta 40’; Bouchalakis 16’, Kolovos 88’)
Paraguay 1-1 Mali (Rojas 7’; Niane 3’)
A day of bad omens
Given his surname, the Mexican midfielder Uvaldo Luna (‘moon’), already has an uneasy relationship with the sun, and he demonstrated his intolerance to the Turkish rays by taking to the field in Gaziantep smothered in sun cream, making him almost unrecognisable. He was not the only member of El Tri whose name appeared cruelly ironic in the wake of their 2-1 defeat to Greece. Jesus Corona was unable to ‘crown’ his display with a goal when presented with a golden opportunity to do so in the 72nd minute, heading the ball over from close range with the scores level at 1-1. All in all it was a bad day for striker Marco Bueno (‘good’) and Co.
A day of good omens
However, there was also plenty of positive symbolism around too. The Greeks burst out of the blocks and Dimitrios Diamantakos dazzled in the build-up to their opening goal, providing an invaluable assist for Andreas Bouchalakis. The Australian Joshua Brillante also shone in his side’s 1-1 draw with Colombia, with the Oceanians putting in a polished all-round display.
While it is not unusual for fans to show their appreciation of moments of individual class with a round of applause, the recipients of the praise are normally on the pitch. Yet when the ball looped high towards Mali’s Moussa Keita in his side’s match against Paraguay, the snazzily-dressed coach casually jogged a few steps back and expertly headed it back onto the pitch. The spectators in Gaziantep’s Kamil Ocak Stadium were so impressed that they rewarded him with a rapturous ovation, as did his players watching from the bench.
Magic minute in Trabzon
There was something special about the first 60 seconds after the interval in the Black Sea city on Saturday evening. Not only did Daniel de Silva find the net for Australia during that period in the first match there, but Cenk Sahin did likewise for Turkey in the venue’s second fixture. Fans in Trabzon would be well advised not to enjoy their half-time tea break for too long in future.
Room for improvement
The first eight games of the tournament were not a happy hunting ground for teams from the North, Central America and Caribbean zone, although it was much more fruitful for their European counterparts. USA, Cuba, El Salvador and Mexico were left empty handed, while five of the seven European participants to have played so far - Spain, France, Portugal, Greece and Turkey - earned maximum points.
The Stat of the Day
3 - Aged 16 years and three months, De Silva, who opened the scoring for Australia in their 1-1 draw with Colombia, is the youngest of all the 504 registered players at the tournament. The striker also wrote his name into the record books as the third-youngest player ever to find the net in the competition. Only Bahrain’s Mohamed Al Kharraz (16 years and one month at the 1987 edition) and Khalid Al Romaihi (16 years and two months at the 1989 edition) were younger.
Great performance from the boys today! Should all be proud! We defiantly sent out a clear message that we are a strong team! #aussieteam
— Corey Gameiro (@CoreyGameiro) June 22, 2013
Chile-Egypt (Antalya, 18.00)
England-Iraq (Antalya, 21.00)
New Zealand-Uzbekistan (Bursa, 17.00)
Uruguay-Croatia (Bursa, 20.00)