By JUSTIN FERGUSON
After a disappointing three and out at the European Under-21 Championship, England was hoping to bounce back with a good showing at the Under-20 World Cup. With two draws in their first two matches, the Three Lions needed a win to ensure a spot in the knockout stage of the competition, and they were favorites against winless Egypt.
England’s dreams of survival died in the final 12 minutes of Saturday’s match against Egypt, who scored two late goals to grab a shock 2-0 win.
Mahmoud broke the deadlock in the 78th minute of the match, and strike partner Hassan Ahmed doubled the Pharoahs’ advantage in the final minute. England, who managed to put seven shots on goal, was burned on the counter by a Egypt squad that was one goal away from making a surprise leap into the final 16.
In other Saturday action from Turkey, Uruguay nailed down a spot in the knockout stage after dominating Uzbekistan by a score of 4-0. Croatia held onto its spot atop of Group F with a 2-1 win over last-place New Zealand. In Group E, Iraq completed its undefeated run through the group stage with a 2-1 win over second-place Chile.
With all 16 spots in the bracket set, the knockout stage of the competition will kick off on Tuesday. Spain vs. Mexico and France vs. hosts Turkey will highlight the first day of action in the Round of 16.
Here are some more stories on this Soccer Saturday:
PRANDELLI QUESTIONS WORTH OF THIRD-PLACE MATCH
On the eve of his depleted squad’s third-place match in the Confederations Cup, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli questioned the need for a consolation prize in the smaller tournament.
“In a tournament with eight squads maybe the third-place match should be put under review,” Prandelli said. “That said, we will honor the match.”
Andrea Pirlo, Andrea Barzagli and Claudio Marchisio have been ruled out of Sunday’s third-place match, which will be played at 1 p.m. local time. Italy is already missing Mario Balotelli and Ignazio Abate, who missed their country’s marathon semifinal with Spain due to injury.
It was also revealed on Saturday that Daniele De Rossi, Giorgio Chiellini and Alberto Gilardino have not recovered from the Spain match, which ended with a 7-6 penalty shootout loss for the Italians.
Uruguay, Italy’s opponent on Sunday, will enter the third-place match with an extra day of rest after their 2-1 loss in regular time to hosts Brazil.
FIFA PLEDGES TO GIVE AT LEAST $100 MILLION TO BRAZIL
With the social unrest surrounding the Confederations Cup continuing in Brazil, FIFA has pledged to give back at least $100 million of its profits from the 2014 World Cup to the South American nation.
A similar “social fund” was set up for South Africa after the 2010 World Cup for development projects, and FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced on Friday evening that Brazil will get a similar fund.
“We have left a legacy (in South Africa), a special fund of $100 million, this fund is controlled by the Football (Association) of (South) Africa, the government of South Africa and FIFA,” Blatter said. “I am sure an amount like that, or even higher, will be possible to have here…the aim from FIFA is not to take profit out of the country, but to put into the country.”
Mass protests, some of which have turned violent, began near the beginning of this month’s Confederations Cup. The Brazilian government is projecting that over $15 billion will be spent in preparations for next year’s World Cup, and tens of thousands of citizens have taken to the streets to protest.
AS Monaco is looking to bring back veteran French defender Patrice Evra from Manchester United, who are considering Everton’s Leighton Baines as a potential replacement. (REPORT)
Chelsea’s Marko Marin, who made just 16 appearances in his first season with the club, has been loaned to Sevilla. (REPORT)
Jonathan De Guzman will be back at Swansea City this season after the club confirmed a second loan deal with Villarreal for the Dutch midfielder. (REPORT)
What do you make of these reports? Surprised England has crashed out of another youth tournament? Agree with Prandelli? What is your reaction to FIFA’s promise to Brazil?
Share your thoughts below.