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Under-20 World Cup: Quarterfinals Preview

Germany U-20 World Cup



Getting this far in a World Cup is an accomplishment in and of itself, but none of the eight teams remaining have finished dreaming of bigger things.

The Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand will resume this weekend with the quarterfinals round, and the four matches on tap should all be plenty interesting despite how different they might be.

The highlight of the round could very well be one of the first set of games that is played on Saturday, as two of the remaining three heavyweights in the competition face off. Undefeated Portugal will meet Brazil at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, and both nations might be able to go blow for blow given the amount of talent they each possess.

The other three matches include fellow powerhouse Germany going up against the Cinderella of the tournament in Mali, the United States locking horns with Serbia in a battle of two dark horses, and Uzbekistan and Senegal doing battle in a duel of the underestimated.

Here is a closer look at the U-20 World Cup’s quarterfinals matches:



Both teams enter the match in Hamilton (9 pm ET, Fox Sports 2) looking to improve on their performances in the Round of 16. Brazil and Portugal narrowly made it through in the opening phase of the knockout stages, with the Brazilians seeing off Uruguay via penalty kicks following a scoreless draw and the Portuguese beating tournament hosts New Zealand, 2-1, courtesy of a late strike.

Even so, Brazil and Portugal are among the most talented teams remaining in the World Cup and can score in bunches. Portugal will again look to count on forward Andre Silva of FC Porto B, but Brazil also has dangerous attacking weapons like Cruzeiro’s Judivan that the stingy Portuguese defense will have to be wary of.


On paper this is a mismatch, but games aren’t played on paper.

Mali is full of confidence after overwhelming Ghana, 3-0, in the Round of 16, and is hoping to carry the momentum gained from that game into a meeting with one of the tournament favorites. Germany, meanwhile, comes into the showdown at Christchurch Stadium in Christchurch (9 pm ET, Fox Sports Plus/Teleumundo) having edged Nigeria, 1-0.

The Germans may have finally had their first challenging encounter after breezing through the group stages, but still have the kind of quality that can make this upcoming match a lopsided one if Mali do not stay organized defensively. Mali will also need to be clinical in front of goal to have any chance of pulling off the upset, so speedy attackers like Aboubacar Doumbia will have to make the most of their opportunities.



The Americans’ depth is about to be seriously tested. Already without two first-choice players in Russell Canouse and Maki Tall, the U.S. now faces the prospects of having to play without starting left back Kellyn Acosta. Forward Bradford Jamieson also seems a likely scratch due to the injury he picked up in the recent 1-0 win vs. Colombia, leaving U.S. head coach Tab Ramos to have to dig deeper into his roster.

No matter how Ramos lines up his team for the clash at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland (12:30 am ET, Fox Sports 1/Telemundo), Serbia will prove a tough test. The Serbs enter the game on less rest after having had to go to extra time to beat Hungary, 2-1, in the Round of 16, but still boast a physical and talented side that includes Genk midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Serbia’s strength lies in its organization and defense, however. The Serbs have conceded just twice so far, and the U.S. will need to be better than it has been at creating chances in order to have a shot at reaching the semifinals.

Conversely, Serbia only made it this far after scoring an equalizer a minute into stoppage time vs. the Hungarians. The Serbs then benefitted from an own goal late into extra time, so they are beatable.


After pulling off upsets in the last round, Uzbekistan and Senegal will now meet in a clash  tournament underdogs. Senegal will be more fatigued for this game at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington (12:30 am ET, Fox Sports 2) because of the fact that it played to a 1-1 draw with Ukraine after 120 minutes and then went through the emotional roller coaster that is a penalty shootout.

The Senegalese will have to tap into their reserve tank in order to keep their World Cup dreams alive, especially if they are to deal with midfielder Dostonbek Khamdamov. Khamdamov led Uzbekistan to the 2-0 win over Austria by bagging a brace, and will attempt to pull off a repeat performance against a Senegal back line that has yet to record a shutout.


Who will win between Portugal and Brazil? How do you see Germany faring vs. Mali? Who will reach the semifinals out of Uzbekistan and Senegal?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If you can, check out Ukraine/USA @ 84m:40s when Senora gets the ball goes into awesome playmaker mode. He seemed asleep for the nearly 20minutes before that (except for some defensive pressure and tackles), but he really turned it on at 84:40


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