- Six teams from Group C and D in the last 16
- Portugal and Costa Rica book places in frantic finale
- Italy and Japan’s 2-2 draw sees them both progress
THE DAY REPLAYED – Four teams confirmed their place in the next round of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, joining two others already assured, to see a sizeable chunk of the next round occupied by Group C and D graduates - two of which made it in heart-stopping style.
Portugal succumbed to an early goal against Iran and looked certain to end their time in Asia with little to take home, but a stunning equaliser and late winner turned that around. Iran fans were even given a shred of hope elsewhere as Zambia looked to have denied Costa Rica’s progress, only to see it ruled out for offside.
Meanwhile, Italy and Japan pushed and pulled in a 2-2 draw lit up by Ritsu Doan, with Uruguay sauntering through to the next round as South Africa headed home.
Portugal’s next No7?
Diogo Goncalves has been excellent so far in Korea Republic. His wand of a foot has proven a nightmare for defences with devilishly whipped crosses and delicate through balls among its repertoire, but Portugal just have not been able to put away their chances. Well, wearing the iconic No7 sported by Cristiano Ronaldo, he went from supplier to scorer, curling in a delicious top-corner effort to kick-start their quest for the next round.
Pineda the saviour
Zambia have been a menace going forward, as Iran will testify, but they truly met their match in Erick Pineda – much to Costa Rica’s delight. The goalkeeper channelled the spirit of Los Ticos star Keylor Navas as he repelled shot after shot, albeit with the occasional aid of the woodwork. The one time he was beaten? The video assistant referee interjected, with Patson Daka lingering offside.
Absent comrades remembered
As Italy and Japan both ensured they would be around in Korea Republic for at least a little longer, two opponents chose to mark the occasion with remember those who would not be joining them on the field. When Giuseppe Panico registered his goal, he rushed over to the sidelines to raise the shirt of Nicolo Barella who fractured his hand versus South Africa. Ritsu Doan followed suit, dedicating his sublime second to Koki Ogawa, who ruptured knee ligaments against Uruguay.
“[They] have dangerous players like Lee and Paik, we know them. We played against them in February in Portugal. They’re dynamic, organised and we know they have players at big clubs in Europe, so it will be a good game in a good atmosphere and we'll try to win."
Portugal head coach Peixe on facing hosts Korea Republic in the Round of 16
Tuesday 30 May
Wednesday 31 May
Thursday 1 June
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