Matchday Preview: Nigeria, Ukraine out to seize spots

  • Group C: Honduras and Norway under pressure

  • Group D: Nigeria and Ukraine with the wind in their sails

  • Round of 16 spots up for grabs

MATCHDAY PREVIEW – The draw and the results from the first matchday in Groups C and D mean that this second set of games could be decisive. In Group C, Uruguay (after a 3-1 over Norway in the opener) and New Zealand (5-0 over Honduras) could secure their spots in the Round of 16 with wins over Honduras and Norway respectively.

Group D sees a similar situation for Nigeria (4-0 winners over Qatar) and Ukraine (2-1 over USA). Another three points for the former against the Stars and Stripes, and a similar result for the latter against the Gulf state would be enough to get them through to the knockout rounds.

While those four teams are eyeing up their Round-of-16 tickets, that does not mean the end of the road for the others, even if they suffer a second defeat. The tournament's 24-team format allows the four best third-placed countries from the groups to also progress.

The games

27 May

Group C Honduras-Uruguay (Lublin, 18:00) Norway-New Zealand (Lodz, 20:30)

Group D Qatar-Ukraine (Tychy, 18:00) USA-Nigeria (Bielsko-Biala, 20:30)

What you need to know

Unusual sensation: USA only conceded two goals in eight qualifiers on the road to Poland 2019, but they shipped another two in their opening match against Ukraine. Next up for them is Nigeria – another tough opponent with a real eye for goal.

Joe Bell, New Zealand captain: "We, as a team, have our own culture and identity. I think that's something other teams are missing and it's an aspect that we can build on – and we certainly intend to do that. We’ve worked on it a lot and it's one of the main advantages that we have."

Players to watch

Darwin Nunez (Uruguay) Uruguay’s No9 grabbed the headlines with a goal of the tournament contender against Norway. The South Americans came into the tournament with a compact defence and skilful attack, but the forward still managed to stand out from the crowd and was a goal threat throughout the match.

Serhii Buletsa (Ukraine) The midfielder was in the reckoning for the team of the tournament at last year’s UEFA U-19 Championship, and came to Poland with lofty ambitions. Buletsa certainly lived up to expectations in the opening match, scoring one goal and setting up the other for Denys Popov in a 2-1 win.