THE DAY REPLAYED: The first matchday of the Boys’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament Nanjing 2014 got underway in style with convincing wins for two of the leading medal contenders. Iceland, making their first appearance in the finals of a FIFA tournament, could not have enjoyed a finer debut. The Northern Europeans comprehensively outclassed Honduras to seal an emphatic opening match victory in Group C.
In Group D, Korea Republic refused to let down their guard against outsiders Cape Verde Islands, jumping straight to the top of the group with a dominant performance.
Honduras 0-5 Iceland (0-2)
Despite stepping into the global spotlight for the first time, the young Icelanders showed no signs of stage fright and gladly took control of proceedings against their Central American opponents. Jonatan Jonsson sounded the first warning in the fifth minute, striking the post with a well crafted free-kick.
Kolbeinn Finnsson then put the Europeans ahead from the penalty spot at the quarter-hour mark before Atli Hrafn Andrason doubled his team’s lead just before half-time. The second half provided the setting for a gala performance from Helgi Gudjonsson, who scored the match’s final three goals to hand Iceland an emphatic and thoroughly deserved victory.
Cape Verde Islands 0-5 Korea Republic (0-3)
*This much-lauded South Korean team put themselves on the path to success at the earliest opportunity, with Kim Gyuhyeong opening the scoring for the Asian side in only the fourth minute thanks to a pass from Lim Jaehyuk. A Jeong Wooyeong penalty and a further strike from Joo Hwimin extended Korea Republic’s lead before the break.
The script remained unchanged in the second half; Choi Young Joon’s side continued to push forward and were rewarded with two more sumptuous shots from Kim Seongjun and Joo Hwimin.
Iceland’s ‘super sub’
15 August 2014 is a day Helgi Gudjonsson will not forget in a hurry. The Icelandic striker experienced a substitute’s dream by scoring his team’s third goal with his first touch of the game barely 60 seconds after stepping onto the pitch at the start of the second half.
The No13 went on to add two further goals and bag a memorable hat-trick. “I told him he had to go out there and get me a goal, and he ended up scoring three,” his beaming coach Freyr Sverrisson told FIFA.com after the match. Meanwhile, the hero of the hour could hardly believe his luck, admitting: “It’s just unbelievable. I have absolutely no idea what to say.”
‘Home game’ for Korea
Everybody knows there is no place quite like home, but in the wake of Korea Republic’s triumph at last year’s Asian Youth Games, also held in Nanjing, this sprawling Chinese city comes close for the young *Taeguk Warriors. *Choi Young Joon’s young charges certainly seemed relaxed at the scene of their greatest success, picking up where they left off the previous year with another formidable performance.
The stat 1 – It was a day of speedy substitute goals at the Jiangning Sports Centre Stadium. After Iceland’s Helgi Gudjonsson found the net less than a minute after being introduced to the first match, South Korean Joo Hwimin pulled off the same trick moments after replacing Jeong Wooyeong in the later game.
Iceland - Peru, Jiangning Sports Centre Stadium, Monday 18 August, 18:00 local time
Korea Republic - Vanuatu, Jiangning Sports Centre Stadium, Monday 18 August, 20:45 local time*