FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015

FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015

30 May - 20 June

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015

Semis in sight for stars and surprise packages

USA players enter the tunnel during the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 Round of 16 match between USA and Colombia.
© Getty Images

All but one of FIFA's six confederations will be represented as the FIFA U-20 World Cup quarter-finals are contested in a single, mouth-watering day of action.

The last-eight line-up includes some surprising names, with Mali, Uzbekistan, Senegal and Serbia all on unfamiliar ground in the latter stages of a global tournament. Alongside them are some of the game's traditional giants, and Brazil and Germany will be among those aiming to avoid becoming New Zealand 2015's latest high-profile victims.

With drama seemingly guaranteed across all four venues, FIFA.compreviews the action.

Match of the day *Brazil-Portugal, Hamilton, 14 June, 13.00 (local time) *

**Sparks generally fly when a *A Seleção *meet their former colonial masters, and this match could raise the bar yet higher. Brazil coach Rogerio Micale has spoken of "a concept of football... looking to score every time we have the ball" and the stats bear that out, with his team having attempted a tournament-high 101 shots. Luck and, at times, shooting accuracy deserted them during 120 goalless minutes against Uruguay but, whatever happens, the South Americans will stay true to the attacking philosophy that has taken them to this stage.

Portugal, though, will test to the limit their title credentials. Helio Sousa's side have also proved a potent attacking force at this competition, having scored an average of three goals per game in their four outings thus far. And having struck late, and brilliantly, to avoid extra time against New Zealand and secure an extended stay in Hamilton, they may have the fresher legs for this potentially thrilling encounter.

*The other matches *Germany will again be heavy favourites in Christchurch when they go up against their second successive African opponents in the knockout phase. Mali, though, have already proved masters of the upset, and the quality of all three of their goals in the 3-0 win over Ghana underlined their potential for the spectacular.

Africa's other remaining representatives, Senegal, will still be on a high after their dramatic, Ibrahima Sy-inspired shootout victory over Ukraine in the last 16. But they would be well advised to remain wary of an unfancied Uzbekistan side that have sneaked inconspicuously into the last eight, improving steadily from game to game.

Auckland's North Harbour Stadium, meanwhile, plays host to USA and Serbia. Both sides have shown ability and character in abundance, with the ten-man Serbians snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against Hungary in the last 16, and the Americans holding firm against a late Colombian onslaught. The question now: which of them has the talent and tenacity to move one step closer to glory?

Player to watch *With the Round of 16 having claimed the tournament's two top scorers - Viktor Kovalenko and Bence Mervo of Ukraine and Hungary respectively - the race for the adidas Golden Boot has been thrown wide open. Germany's *Marc Stendera, whose tally of four goals leaves him just one behind the aforementioned duo, is among those best placed to challenge. Yet the midfielder's creative work has been just as important for the European champions, with his assist for Levin Oztunali's winner in the last 16 one of three - a tournament-high tally - he has supplied so far.

*The stat * 19 - Should they avoid defeat against Portugal, Brazil will extend their unbeaten run at this competition to 19 matches - equalling the record of old foes Argentina. The five-time winners are chasing this milestone after becoming the first team to rack up 100 U-20 World Cup matches when they edged past Uruguay in the last 16.

The words *"We prepared seriously for this tournament and didn't come here just to make up the numbers. After winning our match in the last 16, I told my team: we have not reached our goal yet. This competition ends with the final. That’s our goal."
*
Joseph Koto, Senegal coach

Match schedule *Quarter-finals, 14 June 2015
*Brazil-Portugal (Hamilton, Waikato Stadium, 13.00)
Mali-Germany (Christchurch, Christchurch Stadium, 13.00)
USA-Serbia (Auckland, North Harbour Stadium, 16.30)
Uzbekistan-Senegal (Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, 16.30)

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