The semifinals are in the book and the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals are set with a match between an up and coming CONMEBOL team and a UEFA regular.
Venezuela was taken into extra time for the second straight match after their quarterfinals win over the U.S. U-20s, but it took penalties to overcome South American rivals Uruguay. Meanwhile, England battled in a UEFA clash with Italy and managed to put away the young Azzurri in regulation. Now the two will clash in what’s sure to be a competitive final.
Here’s a recap of the semifinal matches:
URUGUAY (3) 1-1 (4) VENEZUELA
Venezuela and Uruguay could find no separation after 120 minutes, and it was penalties that provided the difference.
After a scoreless first half, Nicolas De La Cruz converted a 49th minute penalty to put Uruguay on top. The lead seemed secure and all seemed wrapped up, but Samuel Sosa denied Uruguay the victory with his 91st minute equalizer for Venezuela.
With neither team able to finish the match off in extra time, it went to penalties to determine the victor. Uruguay was the first to blink, as Jose Luis Rodriguez missed the team’s second effort, but they were handed another chance as Venezuela’s Yeferson Soteldo failed to convert in round four to even things out. Unfortunately for Uruguay, Nicolas De La Cruz must have used up his goalscoring magic in regulation, as he missed his round five penalty before New York City FC’s Yangel Herrera converted the winner for Venezuela.
ITALY 1-3 ENGLAND
The second semifinal, an all UEFA affair, was able to determine a winner in regulation by a comfortable margin.
Italy seized the early initiative, as Riccardo Orsolini found the back of the net in the second minute to put the young Azzurri on top. England, despite dominating possession and shots throughout the match, looked for the first hour like it might not be their day.
However, the second half proved a different story. In the 66th minute, Dominic Solanke pulled the Three Lions level to bring hope back for his side. England would ride that momentum into taking the lead via Ademola Lookman’s 77th minute effort, before Solanke put away his second of the match in minute 88 to reach the final scoreline of 3-1.