THE DAY REPLAYED – As the teams in Groups A and B played their second games at this FIFA U-20 World Cup, it soon became clear that some had learned the lessons of the openers better than others.
The hosts, for example, had gone behind early on in their first match with France, though Los Cafeteros struck first this time around against a rugged Mali side and went on to pick up their second win in two attempts. Les Bleuets, who had crashed to a 4-1 reverse against Colombia, despite that positive start, showed greater resolve against Korea Republic. Indeed, after Kim Young Uk had wiped out Gilles Sunu’s opener, Les Tricolores held their nerve to strike twice more and seal a 3-1 success.
Already highly impressive in New Zealand’s opener with Cameroon, goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic put in another fine display in their second encounter against Uruguay. And despite being finally beaten by Los Charrúas’ Adrian Luna, who finished off a superb team move to equalise on 74 minutes, Marinovic’s heroics guaranteed the All Whites another 1-1 draw for only their second point in the competition's history. Finally we turn to Cameroon who, after shooting themselves in the foot with an own goal against the Kiwis, gifted a winning goal to latest opponents Portugal.
France 3-1 Korea Republic
Colombia 2-0 Mali
Uruguay 1-1 New Zealand
Portugal 1-0 Cameroon
Goal of the day
Portugal-Cameroon, Nelson Oliveira 19’
A lack of aerial prowess in defensive areas cost Cameroon dear once more. With this weakness already having led to Serge Tchaha’s own-goal equaliser against New Zealand, Young Lions’ players Banana Yaya and Ghislain Mvom missed successive headers to allow Portugal poacher Nelson Oliveira to latch on to a long ball and beat keeper Jean Efala with a superb lob.
Colour aplenty on Tuesday: From an All Whites side playing in black to Uruguay’s La Celeste in white: traditional nicknames bore little relevance to the kits on display in Cali’s Estadio Pascual Guerrero. Cameroon, for their part, were in their usual green, only for defender Mvom to see red in their defeat by Portugal – a game in which the Lusitanians’ Alex, Caetano and Luis Martins all earned yellows. Much like the stands of the Estadio Nemesio Camacho 'El Campin' in Bogota, which was packed with yellow-bedecked supporters to cheer the hosts to another three points.
Off-the-pitch difficulties: The France-Korea Republic match threw up a couple of embarrassing moments for the respective coaches, starting with Les Bleuets’ boss Francis Smerecki, whose name was mangled by the stadium announcer prior to the game. Meanwhile, his opposite number Lee Kwang Jong was left red-faced after his touch went awry when attempting to control a ball that had gone out of play.
700 – The match between Colombia and Mali in Bogota was the 700th in FIFA U-20 World Cup history. Following their game against the Kiwis on 2 August, Uruguay have now featured in fifty of these matches – a tally only bettered by Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Australia.
The second round of matches in groups C and D will be played on Wednesday 3 August. Spain, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia can all follow Colombia’s lead by claiming two wins from two, with the Iberians taking on Ecuador and the Nigerians and Saudis clashing with Croatia and Guatemala respectively. Finally, Costa Rica will be hoping to get their first points on the board against Australia.