Friday was opening day at the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey, as play kicked off with four matches pitting eight teams from Groups A and B against one another.
In the day's most anticipated matchup, the United States was easily defeated by Spain. The Americans let in an early goal and the Spaniards never looked back, out-classing their opponents from start to finish to earn a convincing 4-1 victory in Istanbul.
France, Portugal and South Korea were also winners on Matchday 1.
Here, we'll get you caught up to speed on what you may have missed.
Day 1 Results
|Group A||France 3, Ghana 1|
|Spain 4, United States 1|
|Group B||South Korea 2, Cuba 1|
|Portugal 3, Nigeria 2|
Results and table information courtesy of ESPNFC.com.
Spain Thrashes the United States
The United States was no match for Spain in Friday's opening U-20 World Cup clash for both teams.
La Rojita scored less than five minutes into the match, sending an early message that it wouldn't be content to come away with anything less than three points.
Gerard Deulofeu would score late in the first half and Jese Rodríguez Ruí scored his second of the half moments before the break to put the Americans in an overwhelming 3-0 hole heading into the dressing room.
While Spain played a brilliant first half, it was obvious from the beginning that the Yanks were in way over their heads, as pointed out by Soccer America's Paul Kennedy:
Clinical Spain 3-0 over USA at HT in their U-20 World Cup match. US U-20s aren't playing badly but back four is a mess. Not unexpected.— Paul Kennedy (@pkedit) June 21, 2013
Deulofeu would add another goal 15 minutes into the second half to give Spain a 4-0 lead before Luis Gil finally stopped the bleeding for the U.S., putting the Americans on the board and preventing the shutout.
France Tops Ghana in Group A Opener
The French got off to a hot start on Friday, scoring three goals in a 14-minute span in the second half to put the Ghana in a 3-0 hole.
The African side would narrow the gap with an 84th-minute strike, but it wouldn't be enough, as France went on to win in convincing fashion.
French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia opened up the scoring for the European powerhouse in the 64th minute with a solid header and, three minutes later, it was Yaya Sanogo putting France up 2-0.
Jean-Christophe Bahebeck would put the match well out of reach moments later, securing three big points for the French and keeping them within striking distance of Spain in goal differential.
South Korea Battles Back to Defeat Cuba
Things looked promising early on for Cuba in their Group B opener on Friday, as forward Maykel Reyes scored a sixth-minute goal to put his side up 1-0 just moments after kickoff.
But despite taking a slight lead into the dressing room at halftime, Cuba was unable to salvage any points. The South Koreans came out with purpose in the second half, earning a penalty kick just five minutes into the period.
Kwon Chang-Hoon would take advantage of the penalty, pulling the Asian side level at 1-1. Then, with less than 10 minutes remaining in the match, Ryu Seung-Woo scored the deciding goal, putting South Korea ahead 2-1. As FIFA.com notes, the Taegeuk Warriors went on to earn three points in Kayseri:
Portugal Holds Off Nigeria
Friday's second Group B matchup, Portugal vs. Nigeria, looked poised to become a blowout early on, as the Portuguese took a 2-0 lead just half an hour into the match behind two scores from forwards Bruma and Aladje.
Which winner from Group B was more impressive?
But the Flying Eagles were determined to fight back, pulling within one goal just 10 minutes into the second half after Abdul Ajagun gave Nigeria its first goal of the tournament.
Then, just moments later in the 66th minute, Ajagun would score his second goal, leveling the match at 2-2. Nigeria's celebration was short-lived, though, as two minutes later Bruma scored his second of the match to give Portugal a 3-2 advantage.
Portugal would hold up in defense down the stretch, however, as the 2011 U-20 World Cup runner-up was able to get the result it set out for, picking up three points to draw even with South Korea at the top of the Group B standings.
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