THE DAY REPLAYED – The final day of group matches at the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 once again offered plenty of excitement. While Germany and Brazil’s had already secured their places in the next round, the race for the last 16 continued behind the two leaders in Groups E and F.
The day began with an assured 5-1 win for the Germans against Honduras, who must now pack their bags and head for home home. Meanwhile Uzbekistan – still in last place with no points before kick-off – beat Fiji 3-0 to leap into second place and qualify directly for the knockout stages, a result that brings the Pacific islanders’ World Cup adventure to an end after three matches.
As evening fell, Brazil had clear difficulties breaking through Korea DPR’s tightly packed defence and only managed to shine in the second half, while Nigeria secured the runner-up spot with a 2-0 victory against Hungary.
The African side’s reward for this achievement is a last-16 encounter with a sharp-shooting Germany, while Hungary face an all-European duel with Serbia. Fans in New Plymouth, meanwhile, will be treated to a South American derby on Wednesday as Brazil take on Uruguay.
Hungary 0-2 Nigeria
Brazil 3-0 Korea DPR
Honduras 1-5 Germany
Fiji 0-3 Uzbekistan
Goal of the day
Brazil 2-0 Korea DPR, Jean Carlos (66’)
Christchurch witnessed a flash of Brazilian footballing wizardry midway through the second half. A throw-in landed at the feet of Jean Carlos while he still had his back to goal. In the blink of an eye, the striker turned, tricked his way past two defenders and fired an unstoppable strike into the bottom-left corner.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Christchurch, the blazing sunshine prompted many families to head down to the stadium to watch two enthralling U-20 World Cup encounters. The crowd of 15,298 not only created a wonderful atmosphere but were treated to quite a spectacle, as Germany and Honduras scored a total of six goals in the afternoon before Brazil added a further three that evening to round off a thoroughly enjoyable family day out.
The impenetrable goal
Brazil would have been excused for pulling their hair out during their game against Korea DPR. Despite dominating the match in the first half, the ball just would not cross the line, as demonstrated by one scarcely believable moment in the 30th minute. After an impressive solo run from Judivan, Malcolm picked up the ball on the right-hand side of the penalty area, but his shot was deflected by Kim Kuk Chol straight to the feet of Guilherme. The unmarked 19-year-old reacted instantaneously, but could only steer his effort onto the post rather than into the empty net. From there the ball bounced back across goal, where Judivan and Boschilia managed to send it over the crossbar together from five yards out.
Although goalkeepers are normally deployed to prevent goals from being scored, Nigerian custodian Joshua Enaholo proved to be an equally effective provider in his side’s match against Hungary. Hurling a throw-out well over the halfway line, he caught Hungary’s high defensive line off-guard. His throw landed in the path of Taiwo Awoniyi, who skipped past the sole remaining opponent and slotted the ball home to give Nigeria an unassailable 2-0 lead. Enaholo, having claimed an assist, celebrated exuberantly with his team-mates in true African style.
16 – Germany have been in fine scoring form during their three group matches, finding the net 16 times and breaking two records in the process. Frank Wormuth’s players surpassed the record for most goals scored in the group stages held by Brazil since 1997 (15) while at the same time beating their own previous best of 14 strikes set in 1987.
"To have a chance of going through at the last game was a dream, but unfortunately the dream didn't come true. Nevertheless, this campaign has already worked wonders for football in Fiji, not only for the players but also for our football association. The country had a team at a World Cup for the first time and one that proved we can compete at this level. The players have shown everyone, but most importantly themselves, that they can make the most of an opportunity when they get one. It has been an amazing experience for Fiji.” Frank Farina, Fiji coach
Wednesday 10 June 2015
Round of 16
Ukraine – Senegal, 19:30 (Auckland)
Ghana – Mali, 16:00 (Wellington)
Serbia – Hungary, 16:00 (Dunedin)
USA – Colombia, 19:30 (Wellington)
(All times local)