- Venezuela stun Germany in opener, Korea Republic earn comfortable win
- England in record-ending win over Argentina
- Mexico snatch last-second victory to break Vanuatu hearts
THE DAY REPLAYED – If there were any doubts that the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 was going to produce drama and talking points, then they have been alleviated within the very first day.
Thirteen goals brought about an impressive victory for Venezuela over Germany, while a triumph for England saw them extinguish a winless run dating back to the last century. The hosts cantered to a triumph, despite having a goal overturned after video assistant referee (VAR) consultation, whereas Mexico saw a comfortable outing turn into a scramble for three points with virtually the last kick, all at the expense of valiant debutants Vanuatu.
A day of Ronaldos
It is no coincidence that there happen to be five guys named Ronaldo, all born during the late 1990s – during the man known as El Fenomeno’s pomp. Three of them sensationally seem to have channelled the feared Brazilian’s eye for goal, too, as they all struck on the opening day. Ronaldo Pena scored the tournament’s first for Venezuela, before Ronaldo Cisneros and Ronaldo Wilkins struck Mexico and Vanuatu’s second strikes of the afternoon.
Breaking the curse
England got a monkey older than some of their squad off their back against Argentina today. It was 23 June 1997 the last time England picked up three points at the U-20 World Cup, with Michael Owen on the scoresheet in a 1-0 victory over Mexico. Who did they lose to in their next game? Argentina. They did not win for another 17 matches. That tournament record streak was ended emphatically with today’s 3-0 thumping of La Albiceleste.
A VAR-y busy evening
Making its youth tournament debut, it did not take long for Korea Republic 2017 to feel the impact of VAR as twice on day one it helped make key decisions. Firstly, a wild elbow from Argentina’s Lautaro Martinez saw him sent off following a review. Then, in the night’s final match, Korea Republic saw a potential second goal of night by Cho Youngwook chalked off after the ball had narrowly been run out of play, though it did not stop them waltzing to victory.
"I have been working on hitting powerful shots at the near post in recent weeks because usually keepers don't expect you to go for there when you arrive in the box from the right. I’m glad I could score to get this important win."
Venezuela’s Sergio Cordova, proving practice makes perfect
Tuesday 23 May
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— England (@England) May 20, 2017