Joy for Uzbekistan, frustration for England
© AFP

THE DAY REPLAYED: Under a glorious full moon in Antalya on 23 June, with England leading Iraq 2-1 deep into injury time of their opening match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013, Three Lions fans were daring to dream their 16-year wait for a win in this tournament was about to come to an end. Then, up stepped Ali Adnan to fire home and earn the Iraqis their first draw in 11 matches in the competition, having picked up five wins and five defeats in their previous ten. 

After six victories for European sides so far, the 2-2 final scoreline prevented all seven UEFA representatives from winning their opening matches at this year’s event. Uzbekistan, meanwhile, celebrated their first-ever win at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, via a 3-0 triumph over a New Zealand side that had thumped them 4-1 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup two years ago.

The second round of matches begins tomorrow, 24 June, with a number of sides already facing a potential early exit from the tournament. 



The Results
Group E - Antalya 

Chile 2-1 Egypte (Nicolas Castillo 25', Christian Bravo 76’ ; Mahmoud Kahraba 10’) 
England 2-2 Iraq (Conor Coady 41’, Luke Williams 52’ ; Ali Faez 74’ (pen.), Ali Adnan, 90' +3)

Group F - Bursa 

New Zealand 0–3 Uzbekistan (Abbosbek Makhstaliev, 14’, Igor Sergeev, 53', Diyorjon Turapov, 67') 

Uruguay 0-1 Croatia (Ante Rebic, 41')

Memorable Moments
Revenge is a dish best served cold

By clinching a convincing 3-0 win, six members of the Uzbekistan squad had their revenge over seven of the current Kiwi squad for said 4-1 defeat in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2011. Abbosbek Makhstaliev was suspended for that game two years ago, but scored once and set up another this time around as the Uzbeks secured a maiden victory at the tournament.  

Size isn’t everything
Croatia have the third-tallest squad at the competition (behind France and Greece) and, overall, Uruguay are not the most imposing side at Turkey 2013. However, the physical mismatch was very much in La Celeste’s favour in the tussle between striker Felipe Avenatti, the tallest player in the competition at 1.96m, and Croatian defender Toni Gorupec - who is 23cm shorter. As it turned out, the little guy had the last laugh as Croatia won 1-0 in the first match between the two nations at a FIFA tournament.

Unwanted stats for South Americans
Chile’s Cristian Cuevas became the first player to be sent off at Turkey 2013, for a mistimed tackle, while Uruguay became the first side to give away a penalty, against Croatia. As it turned out, neither side had cause for regret, as Chile made light of being a man down to overcome Egypt 2-1, while Croatia missed the spot-kick - although they did run out 1-0 winners in the end. 

Cracking atmosphere at Akdeniz
Akdeniz University Stadium in Antalya may only have a capacity of 7,499, compared to 75,000 at Cairo Stadium, but at times it felt like a classic Al Ahly–Zamalek derby as the the home fans exchanged chants for the full 90 minutes of the Egypt versus Chile match.

The Stat of the Day

15 - England’s run of matches without a win at the tournament now stands at 15, their last win coming fully 16 years ago, when a certain Michael Owen scored the winner against Mexico. Nine defeats and six draws have since followed, the latest proving particularly hard to swallow as the Three Lions were 2-0 up with 15 minutes to go.

The Words