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U-20 World Cup rewind: Portugal slips past New Zealand; Brazil tops Uruguay in PKs; and more


Portugal entered the Under-20 World Cup as one of the favorites to make a deep run, but Thursday’s clash with New Zealand proved to be a major test of the team’s mettle.

After conceding an equalizing goal in the 65th minute, Portugal bounced back to top New Zealand, 2-1, after an 87th-minute winner from Gelson Martins.

New Zealand, which had never made it to the knockout stages prior to Thursday’s encounter, cancelled out a Raphael Guzzo with a finish from substitute Stuart Holthusen just 25 minutes from time.

However, Martins would eventually provide heartbreak, as the midfielder wrong-footed the New Zealand defense before firing past Nik Tzanev to seal Portugal’s advancement.

As a result, Portugal will now face fellow powerhouse Brazil on Sunday in the quarterfinals.

Here’s a closer look at all of Thursday’s U-20 World Cup action:


It came down to penalty kicks, but Brazil did just enough to slip past one of the team’s biggest South American rivals.

After a scoreless contest, Brazil topped Uruguay, 5-4, on penalty kicks to seal a matchup against Portugal in the quarterfinal stage.

Brazil proved to be the aggressor throughout the contest, and received their due rewards in the second round of the penalty kick shootout when Uruguay’s Rodrigo Amaral smashed his shot over the bar. Brazil wouldn’t miss from there, as Gabriel Jesus buried Brazil’s fifth and final PK to claim victory.

Brazil now takes on Portugal on June 14.


A goal from Levin Oeztunali proved to be all that was needed to seal Germany’s advancement.

The Werder Bremen forward provided his goal in the 19th minute, leading Germany to 1 -0 victory over Nigeria and a spot in the quarterfinals. Oeztunali’s finish came via a long range effort, as the forward smashed a left-footed shot from the top of the box past the goalkeeper for the game’s lone goal.

Germany will now matchup with Mali in a June 16 quarterfinal matchup.


Dostonbek Khamdamov’s second-half performance was enough to lead Uzbekistan to the nation’s second quarterfinal berth in the past three U-20 World Cups.

Khamdamov provided finishes early in the second half to lead Uzbekistan to a 2-0 victory over Austria and a spot in the final eight. Uzbekistan opened the scoring just two minutes into the second half through Khamdamov before the forward provided a second finish 10 minutes later to all but seal the team’s advancement.

As a result of Austria’s elimination, all four of Group B’s teams have been eliminated from the tournament, with Ghana, Argentina and Panama preceding Austria’s demise.

Uzbekistan will now take on Senegal in the quarterfinals.


  1. Mali has played the best football of any team in the tournament. Their most recent win against Ghana had their talent on full display, with all three goals coming as the result of spectacular build up play. In particular, their number 18 has been a terror with the ball at his feet, running at defenders with exceptional pace and close control.

  2. These results show just how unpredictable this tournament is. Who expected Portugal to have trouble with New Zealand after the US blew away NZ? And Austria was supposed to be one of the best European teams. Finally, Mexico and Argentina not only have great football traditions, both usually do very well in youth tournaments.

      • You ar so right. I would have never thought the US would get a better path the the semi’s having finished second in their group. I do believe this US team is very talented, but sometimes can lose focus and lose to less talented teams. And I think that if the US can get past Serbia, they will be real motivated, and not so afraid, of playing Germany on a neutral field after the event of yesterday in Cologne

  3. The quarterfinals have three pretty mouthwatering match-ups and one ‘Who the hell knows’ game in Senegal-Uzbekistan. Should be a fairly exciting weekend in New Zealand.

  4. Getting ahead of myself but in terms of the bracket, if the US beats Serbia, we will likely face Germany in the semis.

    Serbia is going to be a huge test for our boys. We struggled against the physicality of Ukraine and I assume Serbia will be similar.

    • Don’t count out Mali just yet. They have claimed two decent scalps in Mexico and Ghana during and are a real wild card at this point. And as the Round of 16 proved, pretty much anything can happen in these youth tourneys.

      • If Mali takes down Germany, that will be the story of the tournament, for sure! Germany had a cake walk in their group and that could go against them in the knockouts. They had a test in Nigeria – that could have been the wake up call.

        It is quite an interesting mix of countries.
        Brazil vs. Portugal – what a match up! I am sure both countries are pissed they have to face each other so soon.

      • Yes, and that’s a worry. in the last year lead-up to this WC, we did not face any African nations, which I think is a grievous oversight. Im sure the the USSF could have set up a friendly and no doubt any of the African countries would have been happy to come. We played several games against SA opponents, Europe and Central American as well a Qatar, but no African (or Asian) countries. This should be on the checklist for the next U20 and U17 cycle.

      • I saw about half of Mali vs. Ghana and boy it was good football. I thought it was a better played game than Serbia vs. Hungary. Those African teams can be real tough.

      • I agree that Mali is going to give Germany a run for its money. Of all the teams I’ve watched, they have been one of the strongest. i wouldn’t be surprised if they beat Germany.

      • Great and impromtu combination play with good shot power from odd angles and great shot location. They will be very difficult for germany. I’d almost rather see the Germans if we get past Serbia which is a tall order with this weakened roster.

    • Yes, most of the former Eastern Bloc countries and now those countries inSouth Eastern Europe have long played a physical brand of football, but many of those countries also turn out very technical players. Serbia was real fortunate against Hungary. tying the game at the 90 min mark, and in extra-time got lucky again when Hungary (which dominated long stretches of the game, scored an own goal to gift it to Serbia,

      I do not think there will be more than 1-2 goals scored in the US-Serbia game. The US cannot be profligate and must score on the few chances they get, but I think they have the ability to get through.


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