- Goalless draws enough to seal places for Poland and Japan
- Hernandez's hat-trick sees Colombia through
- Ecuador's performance strengthens their hopes
THE DAY REPLAYED – With every match played in Groups A and B, we have a clearer picture than ever of which teams will move on to the last 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019.
On Wednesday three more teams guaranteed their places in the next round. Japan were up for the task against first-place Italy in Group B, playing with purpose to pick up the point they needed in a scoreless draw.
Over in Group A, Colombia left no doubt against Tahiti. Juan Hernandez led the charge with a hat-trick in a 6-0 rout that locked down second place and a spot in the knockout stage for Los Cafeteros.
Poland's scoreless draw with Senegal in Lodz ended up being just what they needed to guarantee themselves another game. Their four points, combined with a healthy goal differential, confirms them as one of the top four third-place finishers.
Ecuador's win over Mexico was massive in its own right, keeping hopes alive that La Tricolor will reach the Round of 16 for the first time since 2011.
Neither Mexico nor Tahiti were able to achieve a result in any of their three group stage games, and they became the first two sides to see their World Cup journeys end.
No guarantees: Bydgoszcz Stadium has been a nightmare for penalty-takers in the group stage. Of the four spot kicks attempted, three have been saved. Japan's Hiroki Ito was the latest victim when Italy's back-up keeper Marco Carnesecchi denied him in the first-half of their scoreless draw.
Three for La Tricolor: Ecuador's triumph over Mexico carries significance beyond Poland 2019. It was only their third win at a U-20 World Cup in three appearances: 2001, 2011 and 2017. The South American champions are trending up and might have a shot at making it past the Round of 16, which would be a first for them.
“I am very proud of [Leonardo]. We are in touch every day, we send him positive messages. What I tell him most is to stay focused on target and score and score again.”
Leonardo Campana's father, one of 12 family members who travelled to support the Ecuador forward in Poland
"No-one has come here not wanting to win. We had to be brave and confident, but we still have room for improvement. It’s a wonderful feeling to be playing here. For both the players and myself, we can never be satisfied. We have to be quicker and more accurate and improve our quality even further. That will be our mindset when we play the first game in the knockout stage.”
Japan coach Masanaga Kageyama