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: Japan and Colombia nearly there, Poland back in it

Nicola Zalewski of Poland battles with Etienne Tave of Tahiti 
© Getty Images
  • Big win over Tahiti revives Poland
  • Japan aim to maintain great form
  • Pressure off Senegal and Italy

MATCHDAY PREVIEW – Groups A and B take centre stage for the third time as Poland hope to put in a stellar performance and join already-qualified Senegal in the next round, while the outlook looks bleak for Mexico in Group B as second-place Japan aim to seal their spot in the knockout phase.

The memories of their painful 2-0 opening defeat to Colombia were forgotten as Poland picked up three valuable points with a morale-boosting 5-0 win over Tahiti. Jacek Magiera got his selection spot on with four changes to his team, and do not rule out more tinkering as the coach plans to line up with yet another system against Senegal. Les Lions de la Teranga are safely through having won both of their matches.

The other game in the group sees Colombia face a Tahiti side still searching for their first-ever goal at a FIFA U-20 World Cup. They had a golden chance in the 82nd minute against the hosts only to be denied by goalkeeper Radoslaw Majecki.

Italy take on Japan in a top-of-the-table clash in Group B. The Asian side know a draw will be enough to see them join Gli Azzurri in the next round, a result that is well within their grasp after an excellent 3-0 win over Mexico. In the second Group B match, Ecuador, who have one point, play El Tri, who lost both their opening fixtures and sit at the bottom of their group.

The games

29 May

Group A
Senegal-Poland (Lodz, 20:30)
Colombia-Tahiti (Lublin, 20:30)

Group B
Ecuador-Mexico (Gdynia, 18:00)
Italy-Japan (Bydgoszcz, 18:00)

What you need to know

“There’s no such thing as a perfect match. If there was, then we would’ve already won the tournament. There’s always something to improve on.”
Japan coach, Masanaga Kageyama, after his side’s win over Mexico

“I always seem to score amazing goals in Lodz. I scored a beauty here in a friendly match against Japan a few months ago, but that goal against Tahiti was even better. I think it’s the most beautiful goal of my career. Maybe I’ll bag another one like that against Senegal.”
Poland’s Jakub Bednarczyk on his opening strike against Tahiti

Players to watch

Nicola Zalewski (Poland)
The youngest member of the Poland team did not play in the hosts’ opener against Colombia. However, coach Jacek Magiera went with the 17-year-old from the start against Tahiti, and the Roma youngster enthralled onlookers with an excellent performance that was capped off by an assist. Zalewski’s ability to beat a player may look familiar as he revealed in an interview with FIFA.com that Neymar is his inspiration.

Taisei Miyashiro (Japan)
The Kawasaki Frontale man had a brilliant match against Mexico and was one of the main protagonists in a confident 3-0 win. The whole Samurai Blue team were outstanding, but it was Miyashiro who finished off two superb moves to bag himself a brace.

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