Underdogs out to make history

  • Last two semi-final places up for grabs

  • None of teams this matchday have won U-20 World Cup

  • Italy or Zambia will qualify for semis for first time

MATCHDAY PREVIEW – The second quarter-final matchday at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic features four sides who are all looking to write their names in history by winning the competition for the first time.

Italy and Zambia will get the day started in Suwon, while Mexico and England play for the last semi-final spot in Cheonan. The winners will face each other on 8 June in Jeonju for a place in the final.

The games Quarter-finals: Italy-Zambia | Mexico-England

What you need to know


Azzurri coming off emotional high**: Italy's unexpected 2-1 win over France in the Round of 16, which was a replay of the European U-19 Championship final in which they lost 4-0, was a significant mental hurdle to overcome. Will the Italians be able to regroup and start afresh? They'll need goalkeeper Andrea Zaccagno to continue in his fine form if they're going to keep out Zambia's free-flowing attack.


Zambia's diverse forward line: Having shown the ability to win two dramatic matches (a 4-2 come-from-behind victory against Iran and a 4-3 win after extra time against Germany), the Junior Chipolopolo *are hoping to become the second African nation to win the U-20 World Cup. So far in Korea Republic they have had no trouble finding the goal, scoring ten and with six different contributors. Zambia have also taken the most shot attempts at the tournament (78), well above the 50.7 team average.


Marco Ruiz's tinkering: Mexico head coach Marco Ruiz made a surprise tactical decision in Mexico's last match when he chose not to start star forward Ronaldo Cisneros. Ruiz's move paid off as the Santos Laguna forward came off the bench to score the winning goal in the 89th minute in their cagey 1-0 win over Senegal. Along with Uruguay, Mexico have scored the least goals of the sides remaining, so will Ruiz keep the same starting XI last time out in Incheon or will he reward Cisneros for his late heroics?


England's Toffee connection: Both goals England scored in their 2-1 Round of 16 victory over Costa Rica were scored and created by Everton players. Ademola Lookman got his brace thanks to assists from team-mates Jonjoe Kenny and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Head coach Paul Simpson's side were the first team to qualify for Korea Republic 2017 and they have looked like they belonged, with three wins and a draw so far.

More from Korea Republic