FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019

FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019

23 May - 15 June

FIFA U-20 World Cup

Matchday Preview: Curtain comes down in Groups E and F

Dan Zagadou of France pose for pictures with fans
© Getty Images
  • Group E: Panama out to make history
  • Group F: Portugal and Korea Republic fight for second qualifying slot
  • France and Argentina looking to go through as group winners

MATCHDAY PREVIEW – Eight days on from the start of the competition, the teams in Groups E and F will bring the curtain down on the first round of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019.

In the day’s opening match, Mali will look to seal their qualification from Group E when they take on France, who have six points out of six and top the section. The Malians are hot on their heels, however, and a win for them will take them through as group winners.

In action at the same time, Panama are aiming to make history twice over. Victory over Saudi Arabia would be their first in the competition and would also give them a chance of advancing to the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams. The Saudis, meanwhile, have yet to collect a point and need to win to have any chance of going through.

In the evening, the spotlight falls on Group F, where an exciting finale is in store, with three teams still in contention for top spot. Argentina are the current occupiers and will need to thwart Korea Republic’s attacking threat if they are to stay there. In the other game in the section, Portugal will hope to secure a place in the next round against a South Africa side that is still without a point.

The games

31 May

Group E

Mali-France (Gdynia, 18:00)
Saudi Arabia-Panama (Bydgoszcz, 18:00)

Group F

Korea Republic-Argentina (Tychy, 20:30)
South Africa-Portugal (Bielsko-Biala, 20:30)

What you need to know

Argentina's meeting with Korea Republic promises to be an exciting one. La Albiceleste have shown that they know how to look after the ball, while the Asians are the only side in the competition yet to pick up a yellow card. There is every chance, then, of the fans being treated to a thrilling and sporting encounter at Tychy Stadium.

“We only have a slim chance, but we have to do everything we can in our last game against Portugal to win and then just wait and see,” said South Africa coach Thabo Senong, discussing the day’s other game in Group F. “We know, though, that it’s going to be tough for us.”

Players to watch

Moussa Diaby (France)
Though he failed to find the back of the net, the winger has been very active in his side’s two wins to date. A vital cog in the French attack, Diaby has also been playing plenty of football lately, deputising for the injured Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain and picking up valuable experience at the very highest level in the process.

Adolfo Gaich (Argentina)
Gaich has two goals to his name so far at Poland 2019 and will be keen to add to that haul against South Africa. Assisting him in that task will be Ezequiel Barco, who has developed a fine understanding with the free-scoring forward and is his most reliable provider.

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