On a day notable for yet another Iraqi comeback, Chile, Uzbekistan and Croatia all passed up opportunities to join sole qualifiers Spain in the Round of 16 of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013.
The Lions of Mesopotamia came from a goal down to beat Egypt 2-1 and move a step closer to taking a wholly unexpected place in the knockout phase, their fightback leaving the Egyptians with much to do to progress. Group E rivals England posted another draw and may now have to go for broke on a final day on which all four teams in the section will be in contention for a place in the next round.
In Group F, meanwhile, Uruguay bounced back from defeat to Croatia to beat New Zealand, while Uzbekistan’s draw with the Croats leaves the pool wide open, with even the pointless Junior All Whites still in with a chance of making it through.
Group E: Antalya
Chile 1-1 England (Goals: Nicolas Castillo 32 pen, Chile; Harry Kane 64, England)
Iraq 2-1 Egypt (Goals: Ammar Abdulhussein 33, Mohanad Abdulraheem 79, Iraq; Hassan Ahmed 27, Egypt)
Group F: Bursa
New Zealand 0-2 Uruguay (Goals: Giorgian de Arrascaeta 4, Nicolas Lopez 75)
Croatia 1-1 Uzbekistan (Goals: Marko Livaja 65, Croatia; Sardor Rakhmanov 24, Uzbekistan)
Never say die
Iraq have announced themselves as one of the revelations of Turkey 2013, a status they owe to staging two fightbacks in as many games, which have brought them four points out of six and the lead in Group E. After clawing back a two-goal deficit in the final 15 minutes of their game against England, the Lions of Mesopotamia hit the comeback trail again after falling behind to Egypt, going on to record a famous win.
What’s in a name, and a haircut?
Judging by events on day six at Turkey 2013, players called Nicolas and wearing a Mohican hairstyle have a strong chance of getting their name on the scoresheet. Proving the point were Nicolas Lopez of Uruguay and Nicolas Castillo of Chile. The former, the top-scorer at the South American U-20 Championships with six goals, helped his side recover from a first-day defeat by hitting the second in their 2-0 defeat of New Zealand. Meanwhile, the latter converted the penalty that ultimately earned La Rojita a vital point against England and kept them right on track for the last 16.
A touching tribute
Wednesday saw the football family pay a heartfelt homage to Alen Pamic, the young Croatian who played for Istria 1961 in the country’s first division and tragically died a few days ago while playing an indoor match. In his memory a minute’s silence was held before the start of the Croatia-Uzbekistan match, while FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter sent a letter of condolence to the Croatian Football Association in which he mourned the youngster’s death. “He was a strong and energetic midfielder,” wrote Blatter. “I can imagine that he was full of hope for the future, making plans and mapping out his dreams. We will miss him very much.”
The rub of the green
There are times when the two posts and a bar that make up the goal can be the difference between success and failure. Chile’s Bryan Rabello had cause to rue their intervention in the latter stages against England. Thundering in a 30-yard drive reminiscent of the goal he struck to seal Chile’s place at Turkey 2013, Rabello looked on with frustration as the ball shuddered against the bar and bounced away to safety. For Uruguay’s Nicolas Lopez, however, the woodwork proved a useful ally. After heading towards goal in his side’s match against New Zealand, the Celeste striker was grateful to see the ball strike the post, evade the grasp of the Kiwi keeper and roll right back into his path, allowing him to make sure of three valuable points for the South Americans.
The stat of the day
0 - The number of victories England have achieved against CONMEBOL opposition in their nine FIFA U-20 World Cup appearances. Having recorded two draws and six defeats in games with Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia, the English extended that winless run with today’s draw against Chile. The stalemate in Antalya was also England’s 16th consecutive match without a win in the competition.
Disappointing for the boys to get another point I thought we deserved to win the game on to the next one on sat massive game against Egypt
— Luke Garbutt (@luke_garbutt) June 26, 2013
Next up (local times)
Iraq-Chile (Antalya, 21:00)
Egypt-England (Bursa, 21:00)
Uzbekistan-Uruguay (Antalya, 18:00)
Croatia-New Zealand (Bursa, 18:00)