• Portugal look to add to 1989, 1991 titles
  • Italy hoping to reach semi-finals for first time ever
  • Japan reached final in 1999, but lost to a Xavi-inspired Spain in the final

MATCHDAY PREVIEW – Portugal’s Korea Republic 2017 journey begins on Jeju island, a popular honeymoon destination, where they look to add another chapter to their FIFA U-20 World Cup love story. Standing in their way are Zambia, who return to the competition for the first time in a decade. Elsewhere in the group, Iran, who will be boosted by the late arrival of captain Omid Norafkan, take on Costa Rica.

A strong-looking Group D begins play in Suwon, the site of the 11 June final. South Africa look for their second win in competition history, while Japan will be buoyed by capturing their first-ever AFC U-19 Championship title en route to Korea Republic. Italy and Uruguay play in the other Group D match in a contest that pits two storied footballing nations against one another. 

Matches of the day
Group C: Zambia-Portugal | Iran-Costa Rica 
Group D: South Africa-Japan | Italy-Uruguay

What you need to know
1 Young Chipolopo reach new heights: Zambia are playing in a U-20 World Cup as African champions for the first time in history. The Zambians won every match at the CAF U-20 Africa Cup of Nations, defeating fellow finals participants Senegal 2-0 in the final.

2 Where it all began: Iran, Italy and Uruguay are three of six qualifying sides for Korea Republic 2017 that were also involved in the inaugural edition in Tunisia in 1977. The others are France, Honduras and Mexico.

3 810 minute-clean sheet: Japan not only won the AFC U-19 Championship for the first time last year, but they did it in style. Including the qualification phase and final tournament, the Samurai Blue conceded no goals en route to lifting the trophy.

4 Can anyone break four?: In Uruguay’s history at the U-20 World Cup, five players have scored an impressive four goals (Carlos Aguilera, Ernesto Chevanton, Nicolas Lopez, Ruben Paz and Marcelo Zalayeta), but no player, not even Luis Suarez, has been able to score any more. Will someone make history for La Celeste at Korea Republic 2017?

More from Korea Republic