Both Group C and Group D sent all four teams to the pitch on Friday at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, as spots in the next round of 16 were on the line and up for the taking.
Mexico, Mali, Greece and Paraguay (Group D) completed their round-robin matches in the first set of games on Friday, while Australia, El Salvador, Colombia and host nation Turkey would have to wait until later hours to finish their Group C ones.
Groups A and B already completed their docket Thursday, and Groups E and F still have matches to play Saturday, so we can officially say the Friday's slate of four matches was the midpoint of the end of the group stage at the U-20 World Cup.
Now that Friday's action is in the books, just one day remains before things start getting really interesting in Turkey.
Before they do, check out the sections below for all the Day 8 scores, recaps, highlights and additional information about the events at the U-20 World Cup on Friday.
Day 8 FIFA U-20 2013 World Cup Scores/Goals
|Mexico 4, Mali 1|| |
|Greece 1, Paraguay 1||
Dimitrios Diamantakos (68')
Brian Montenegro (73')
|Turkey 2, Australia 1|| |
|Colombia 3, El Salvador 0|| |
*Information via FIFA.com.
Mexico 4, Mali 1
It was all Mexico in this Group D match, as the junior El Tri squad managed to avoid losing all three matches in Turkey on their trip to the U-20 World Cup.
101 Great Goals had some highlights of the match on Twitter:
Highlights: Mali U20 1 – Mexico U20 4 http://t.co/aFD9xT2b1F— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) June 28, 2013
FIFA.com also had a post, noting that the huge win over the junior Eagles breathes life into Mexico to make the final 16 in Turkey once things are sorted out on Saturday:
One of those highlights will include Jesus Escoboza finding the back of the net in the 69th minute despite losing his shoe just seconds before sliding the ball to the opposite corner with his left foot.
101 Great Goals also had the GIF of Escoboza's backyard-type play:
Marco Bueno got Mexico off to an early start with a goal in the second minute, while Jesus Corona added one to give El Tri a 2-0 lead in the first half. Mali looked poised to show similar form that they did against Greece and Paraguay in draws with a goal from Samba Diallo, but Escoboza's goal put things away and Uvaldo Luna added one late to complete an impressive Mexican victory.
Greece 1, Paraguay 1
Both Greece and Paraguay had suffered draws to Mali but beaten Mexico, so everything was still up in the air when it came to getting through to the next round.
A draw was the outcome in the other Group D match of the day, with Grecian player Dimitrios Diamantakos' second-half strike being matched just five minutes later by a beautiful bicycle kick from Brian Montenegro.
FIFA.com had the tweet at full time:
Both teams will be heading to the Round of 16, where a draw had to be used to determine which side had the higher seed moving forward. Identical outcomes prior and a draw on Friday made it so, and Greek Football had the tweet with that information:
Greece-Paraguay 1-1 (68’ Diamantakos 1-0, 73’ 1-1). Absolute tie. A draw will determine which team will qualify as 1st and which 2nd!— Greek Football (@greekfooty) June 28, 2013
After Diamantakos got the Grecian side an early lead in what's been a stellar run so far to their maiden voyage to the World Cup, Montenegro leveled five minutes later. 101 Great Goals had the post with a video attached of the video-game style kick:
Brian Montenegro (Paraguay U20) bicycle kick golazo v Greece U20 http://t.co/QPvbSYeQ91— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) June 28, 2013
Both sides will move into the knockout stage of the 2013 U-20 World Cup.
Turkey 2, Australia 1
The host nation looked to be in trouble at the start of the second half, but corresponding goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Okay Yokuslu gave Turkey a 2-1 win and a spot in the round of 16.
Maclaren got the Socceroos off to a great start on Friday with a goal just out of the half, but Calhanoglu would answer less than two minutes later. His strike leveled the score at one, and 101 Great Goals had a look at his answer on Twitter:
Cracking strike! Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Turkey U20) v Australia U20 http://t.co/zrG9GUfKH6— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) June 28, 2013
The buzz surrounding the trip to the next round is great for Turkey, which finished with six points in Group C play after their second win in the group stage, but the real buzz in this one is the late goal from Yokuslu to give his side the emotional, next-stage clinching victory.
Turkish-Football.com was following along and had this tweet as the Turks pulled ahead:
U20 World Cup - Turkey 2-1 Australia: 87mins Okay Yokuşlu scores a sensational goal! wonderful technique, vision and execution— Turkish-Football.com (@Turkish_Futbol) June 28, 2013
Scouting for Goals also showed enthusiasm on their Twitter handle by posting following the late strike:
Soccer Pings had a video for those who might have missed all the action on Friday:
Wow! Wat een fantastische doelpunt van Okay Yokuşlu! https://t.co/Irrpsp0tlP— SoccerPings (@SoccerPings) June 28, 2013
Turkey's big win netted the home side six points in the Group C standings, enough to outlast El Salvador and Australia—who goes home with just one point in three matches—and move into the next round.
Colombia 3, El Salvador 0
Colombia followed the path laid out by Mexico on Friday, scoring two first half goals and another in the 90th minute to send El Salvador home and send themselves to the next round.
FIFA.com tweeted as the match ended in Turkey:
Andres Renteria and Jhon Cordoba struck in the first have for the Colombians, and Quintero added a 90-minute goal to put the final nail in the coffin for El Salvador at the U-20 World Cup this year.
Cordoba's goal was the most notable for the Colombians. He drew a penalty in the box in the 24th minute and would receive a penalty kick as a result, giving his side the chance to double its score less than a third of the way through the match.
His strike would ring true, and the wind really came out of the El Salvador sails after that.
Quintero's last-second effort was the icing on the cake for Colombia, who had two wins and a draw in the group stage and will now have to prepare for their next opponent in the coming days.
Final Group Standings
|GROUP C||GROUP D|
Remaining Schedule (Saturday, June 29)
Uzbekistan vs. Uruguay (Group F, 11 a.m. ET)
Croatia vs. New Zealand (Group F, 11 a.m. ET)
Iraq vs. Chile (Group E, 2 p.m. ET)
Egypt vs. England (Group E, 2 p.m. ET)
Now that four groups have completed their action, eight teams are all officially into the knockout stage. Spain and France were the top-two finishers in Group A, Portugal and Nigeria made it from Group B, and Greece, Paraguay, Turkey and Colombia all joined the party based on the results of Friday's matches.
Four more sides will automatically make it into the round of 16 by being first or second in their group on Saturday, and after that, the final four teams with the best resumes will join them.
One of those teams, as noted by FIFA.com, will be Mexico:
#u20wc Tonight's results in Group C mean El Salvador are eliminated & Mexico - third on Group D - reach the Turkey 2013 knockout stages.— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) June 28, 2013
Everyone else goes home.
It's the harsh reality of a major tournament like this, but it's also why World Cup matches are a thing of beauty—no matter the qualification at which the players are representing their country.
Follow Bleacher Report FC Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.