Ecuador and Korea Republic take last semi-final berths
Ecuador in the last four for the first time
Korea Republic also reach the semi-finals
The teams will meet on 11 June in Lublin
THE DAY REPLAYED – All four places in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 semi-finals have now been booked, with Ecuador and Korea Republic today joining European sides Italy and Ukraine in the last four.
In a clash between the two continental champions of the Americas, Ecuador overcame USA to reach the semi-finals for the first time ever at this level. The South Americans earned a 2-1 win at the Gdynia Stadium, with all three goals coming in the first half.
Late drama unfolded at the Bielsko-Biala Stadium as Korea Republic and Senegal traded blows deep into the night. The Taeguk Warriors struck decisively in the penalty shoot-out 3-2, earning the last semi-final place after extra time ended with the score knotted 3-3 against the Young Lions of Teranga.
USA 1–2 Ecuador Korea Republic 3(3)–3(2) Senegal
Nerves of steel: Both Korea Republic's Lee Kangin and Senegal's Ibrahima Niane held their nerve during the regulation 90 minutes, scoring the 15th and 16th penalties at the tournament so far. Neither player was able to participate in the shootout, however, as both had already been substituted by that stage.
Gave it all: The players on both sides of the pitch crumpled to the ground with fatigue when the final whistle blew on Ecuador's win over USA. The South Americans even needed a few minutes before they were able to celebrate their passage to the next round, so draining were their exertions against the Stars and Stripes.
High praise: No sooner had the final whistle blown at the Gdynia Stadium than the first messages of congratulations came flooding in for Ecuador. "We're so proud of our boys," wrote the country's president on Twitter. "Terrific mentality and togetherness. That's the Ecuador that's emerging. Let's stride into the future together!"
“We've developed brilliantly here in Poland. We were lacking a bit of self-confidence at the start, but that's grown with each passing game." Jorge Celico (Ecuador coach)
"The result is obviously disappointing because we wanted to achieve more. But our success is that we've shown we can compete with the best teams in the world. That's a great accomplishment for us." Tab Ramos (USA coach)
Semi-finals (all times local)
11 June Ukraine-Italy (Gdynia, 17:30) Ecuador-Korea Republic (Lublin, 20:30)