Three Hyundai Best Young Player Award candidates were in action on Day 20. FIFA.com reflects upon their displays.
Samuel Inkoom: Not much was expected of the young Ghanaian when he made his FIFA World Cup debut against USA in the Round of 16. However, a competent, inventive performance in Rustenburg meant he entered his side’s quarter-final with Uruguay as somebody to keep an eye on. Inkoom failed to deliver at Soccer City, though, being turned by Edinson Cavani on a couple of occasions and mis-placing ten of his 22 attempted passes en route to his 74th-minute withdrawal. His evening got considerably worse when, from the sidelines, he watched the Black Stars lose 4-2 on penalties.
Dominic Adiyiah: The pacy forward finished last year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup as a gold medallist, its best player and top scorer. He got his first taste of action on the most prestigious senior stage at Soccer City, but ended the match – and the tournament – in devastated mood. The AC Milan player gave the ball away more than he kept it after coming on as an 88th-minute substitute with the scores at 1-1, including one wasted cross when he had two unmarked team-mates to aim for, and worse was to come in the shoot-out. Adiyiah’s penalty, indeed, was tame and easily saved by Fernando Muslera. It provided Sebastian Abreu with the chance to send Uruguay into the semi-finals, which he did. The tears of joy the 20-year-old cried at the end of the last FIFA tournament he was involved in were now tears of pain.
Nicolas Lodeiro: Summoned from the bench at half-time, the Uruguayan creator failed to make a positive impact. His one cross was wayward, while he managed to complete just 14 of 35 attempted passes. Fortunately for Lodeiro, his side’s shoot-out success means he could get the chance to enhance his Hyundai Best Young Player Award claims in the last four.