FIFA Under-20 World Cup Wrap: France Impress, Portugal Edge Nigeria

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 21, 2013

The FIFA U-20 World Cup has kicked off in Turkey with a bang, and we're here to recap the action for you in case you missed a game.

The tournament has played host to some of the world's greatest stars, including the likes of Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona, and each nation involved is classing it with the utmost importance.

The stars of 2018 cut their teeth here. Now, without further ado, let's recap the action from Matchday 1.


France 3-1 Ghana

Ghana came into the competition having never lost a Group Stage game in their history.

Many wrote them off before a ball was kicked, but the Black Satellites are an under-the-radar team who, like many African nations, are fast emerging as true contenders.

The game was even throughout, and the sides went into the halftime break scoreless. Alfred Duncan impressed greatly for Ghana, while Florian Thauvin turned plenty of heads for France.

Shortly after the second half started, France took control: Yaya Sanogo hit the post, then Geoffrey Kondogbia gave his country the lead; Lucas Digne's long throw into the box finding the towering midfielder unmarked to head home.

Sanogo made it two after a surging run and pass by Kondogbia, then Jean-Christophe Bahebeck sealed it with a cool finish after being put through.

Yiadom Boakye tapped home late in consolation for Ghana.


Cuba 1-2 South Korea

Over in Kayseri, South Korea got themselves off to that all-important winning start by coming from behind to beat Cuba 2-1.

Maykel Reyes put the islanders ahead with a mighty header from a corner as early as the seventh minute, giving the minnows the belief to go out and compete for a full 90.

An exciting match reached halftime with just a goal in it, and by all accounts, Cuba had done well to keep South Korea at bay.

But early in the second half, Sangmin Sin was chopped down in the penalty area in reckless fashion by Adrian Diz Pe, and Chang-Hoon Kwon kept his cool from the spot.

Seungwo Ryu completed the comeback in the closing stages, tapping home after a plethora of chances had gone begging. A deserved win for Lee Kwang-Jong's men.


USA 1-4 Spain

Spain opened their account for the tournament in the way most expected them to, and a crushing win over the U.S. confirmed this age group is just as talented as the others.

Julen Lopetegui, who coached the U-21 side to glory in Israel, flew in to take charge, and it didn't take his side long to take the lead. Gerard Deulofeu rinsed his marker down the right, hit the byline and laid it on a platter for Jese to finish.

Deulofeu then turned finisher, cutting in from the left and bending a stunning effort around the claws of Cody Cropper. Two minutes later, Jese added his second, stabbing home after right-back Javier Manquillo's surging run into the box.

At halftime, it was 3-0, and the U.S. came back out determined to make it more difficult for their mesmerising opponents.

In the 61st minute, though, Deulofeu was sent through on goal after breaking the offside trap, rounded the 'keeper and slotted home.

Luis Gil scored a late golazo for USA to put some pride back into the scoreline.


Nigeria 2-3 Portugal

Portugal are heavily fancied to reach the latter stages of the tournament, but pre-match concerns over their leaky defence were proven correct by an impressive Nigerian outfit.

Clearly building on a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations win, the Super Eagles are pouring resources into making every age group competitive, and it showed.

Bruma opened the scoring for Portugal, finding space on the left, collecting the through-ball and finishing with ease. It was to become a theme of the game; Feed Bruma and he will score.

Aladje then doubled the lead, tapping home after some scything work for Portugal's midfield.

Nigeria bit back, though, and a brace from Abdul Ajagun in the second half changed the complexity of the game: The first a wonderful poked effort when racing through on goal; the second a truly astonishing, bending effort from just inside the penalty area.

With the score at 2-2, the crowd were being thoroughly entertained. Two attacking incisive sides going head-to-head for all three points.

And it was to be Portugal's day, with Bruma latching onto a pass, driving into the area and finishing low at the 'keeper's near post.