Under-20 Men's World Cup: Standouts and disappointments through two rounds

Two rounds are complete in the Under-20 Men's World Cup group stage.

Here's a breakdown by confederation how teams are doing.

Concacaf. The USA's 2-0 win over Nigeria is the first and only victory in eight games by Concacaf's four teams. It will know after Wednesday's games in Group A and Group B whether a draw against Qatar on Thursday will assure it a berth in the round of 16.

If the USA advances, it will play Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, depending on where it finishes.

Panama tied Mali, 1-1, and lost to France, 2-0, to put itself in a position to likely advance if it beats Saudi Arabia on Friday. The Canaleros started four players on MLS second teams playing in the USL Championship or USL League One: Carlos Harvey and Ernesto Walker (both LA Galaxy II), Guillermo Benitez (Atlanta United 2) and Jesus West (Toronto FC II).

Mexico has been a disappointment, losing to Italy and Japan and extending its long history of problems in the group stage at the Under-20 World Cup. Since 2001, El Tri has had a winning record in the group stage only once -- in 2007 when it swept all three games in Canada.

Only Tahiti has a worst record in the overall standings than Honduras, which opened with a 5-0 loss to New Zealand and 2-0 loss to Uruguay.

Europe. If the USA finishes second in its group, it will likely face France, a 2-0 winner over both Saudi Arabia and Panama, in the round of 16.

Three of France's top U-20s -- RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate, Nice's Malang Sarr and  Arsenal's Matteo Guendouzi -- were held out of the tournament so they can play for France in the UEFA Under-21 Tournament later in June that serves as qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.

Les Bleuets had Alban Lafont (123 pro appearances for Toulouse and Fiorentina) back in goal on Tuesday after he finished up the Serie A season over the weekend.

Ukraine, which beat the USA, 2-1, and Italy are the other European teams that opened with a pair of victories. Like France, Italy is taking part in the UEFA U-21 Tournament, so it held out 18-year-old star Sandro Tonali, dubbed the new Andrea Pirlo, from the U-20 World Cup.

With the likes of Gedson Fernandes, Florentino Luis and Joao Filipe from Benfica, Francisco Trincao from Braga, Manchester United's Diogo Dalot and Lille's Rafael Leao, Portugal, winner of European U-17 and U-19 titles, entered the tournament as the favorite. But Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Argentina means that Portugal likely needs a result against South Africa on Friday to advance.

Host Poland split its first two games, while Norway is pointless.

South America. Atlanta United's Ezequiel Barco has been sensational for Argentina, assisting on both goals in the 2-0 victory over Portugal after scoring twice in the 5-2 win over South Korea to open the tournament.

Uruguay is also perfect with a pair of wins and is through to the round of 16 while Colombia split its first two games. The disappointment has been Sudamericano Sub-20 champion Ecuador, which lost to Italy and tied Japan and will most likely need to beat Mexico to advance.

Africa. Senegal pulled off one of the tournament's upsets when it beat Colombia, 2-0, to move into first place in Group A. It could knock out host Poland it it wins on Wednesday in Lodz.

Mali is in good shape with a win and tie heading into its match against France to decide first place in Group E. Nigeria still has a shot at winning Group D but it must beat Ukraine and hope the USA doesn't beat Qatar by a bigger margin.

South Africa's slim hopes of advancing depend on beating Portugal and then getting help from the other results.

Asia. Japan is in the best position to advance thanks to its 3-0 win over Mexico and 1-1 tie with Ecuador.

South Korea split its first two games but closes out group play against Argentina. The two Middle East entrants Qatar and Saudi Arabia both lost their first two games.

Oceania. The tournament surprise has been New Zealand, which has the best record in the tournament with a 5-0 win over Honduras and 2-0 win over Norway.

Since 2015, Oceania has sent to two teams to the U-20 World Cup. Tahiti has opened with 3-0 and 5-0 defeats, though that's better than it did in its first appearance a decade ago when it lost 8-0, 8-0 and 5-0.

Thursday, May 23
Group A Senegal 3 Tahiti 0. (Sagna 1, 29, 50. Att.: 4,661.)
-- Poland 0 Colombia 2. (Angulo 23, Sandoval 90+3. Att.: 17,463.)
Group B Italy 2 Mexico 1. (Frattesi 3, Ranieri 67; De la Rose 37. Att.: 7,893.)
-- Japan 1 Ecuador 1. (Yamada 68; own goal 45. Att.: 3,018.)

Friday, May 24
Group C New Zealand 5 Honduras 0. (Own goal 8, Waine 17, 27, Singh 51, Conroy 90+2. Att.: 4,484.)
-- Uruguay 3 Norway 1. (Nunez 22, Ginella 29, B.Rodriguez 87; Borchgrevink 47. Att.: 4,626.)
Group D USA 1 Ukraine 2. (Buletsa 26, Popov 51; Servania 32. Att.: 4,310.)
-- Nigeria 4 Qatar 0. (Effiom 12, Offia 24, Dele-Bashiru 68, Salawudeen 74. Att.: 3,010.)

Saturday, May 25
Group E Panama 1 Mali 1. (Valanta pen. 87; Konte 39. Att.: 2,876.)
-- France 2 Saudi Arabia 0. (Fofana 43, Gouiri 75. Att.: 6,100.)
Group F Portugal 1 South Korea 0. (Trincao 7. Att.: 6,344.)
-- Argentina 5 South Africa 2. (Vera 4, Barco pen. 63, 71, Alvarez 78, Gaich 90+2; Phillips 23, Foster pen. 85. Att.: 8,351.)

Sunday, May 26
Group A Senegal 2 Colombia 0. (Niane pen. 34, Lopy pen. 85. Att.: 10,450.)
-- Poland 5 Tahiti 0. (Bednarczyk 18, Zylla 37, Steczyk 39, 61, Benedyczak 74. Att.: 15,894.)
Group B Japan 3 Mexico 0. (Miyashiro 21, 77, Tagawa 52. Att: 4,930.)
-- Italy 1 Ecuador 0. (Pinamonti 15. Att.: 6,717.)

Monday, May 27
Group C Uruguay 2 Honduras 0. (Acevedo 41, Schiappacasse 90+1. Att.: 6,173.)
-- New Zealand 2 Norway 0. (Stensness 71, own goal 83. Att.: 2,165.)
Group D Ukraine 1 Qatar 0. (Popov 59. Att.: 3,513.)
-- USA 2 Nigeria 0. (Soto 18, 46. Att.: 3,427.)

Tuesday, May 28
Group E France 2 Panama 0. (Zagadou 44, Cuisance 52. Att.: 5,656.)
Mali 4 Saudi Arabia 3. (Koita 36, Kone 54,  B.Traore 70, Camara 90; Al-Buraikan 9, Al-Tambakti pen. 20, Al-Ghannam 63. Att.: 1,707.)
Group F Argentina 2 Portugal 0. (Gaich 33, Perez 84. Att.: 11,874.)
South Korea 1 South Africa 0. (Kim Hyun-woo 69. Att.: 2,698.)

Photo: FIFA via Getty Images.

2 comments about "Under-20 Men's World Cup: Standouts and disappointments through two rounds".
  1. Alan Gay, May 28, 2019 at 11:36 p.m.

    In a league with little depth, FdB must be wondering how his fate might differ if he had Barco for the seven AU games he is missing.  Eleven games in a row if he gets selected for Copa America.

  2. beautiful game, May 29, 2019 at 10:35 a.m.

    Mexico is not a disppointment. Its losses to Japan and Italy were to two solid teams. IMHO, so far Japan has shown its metal of individual efficacy and teamwork with a high work rate and tenacity.

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