U-20 World Cup 2013 Results: Scores and Highlights from Day 11
With the group stage completed, the FIFA U-20 World Cup turned to the round of 16, with the tournament's top contenders still fighting to earn the title.
Wednesday's action featured four excellent matchups, with contenders Portugal taking on Ghana, Chile facing Croatia, a dangerous Colombia side matching wits with South Korea and Iraq facing Paraguay.
Let's take a look back at the day's action.
Ghana Defeats Portugal, 3-2
In one of the shockers of the tournament thus far, Ghana upset one of the tournament favorites, Portugal, 3-2 on Wednesday. Despite holding 58 percent of possession and putting 12 shots on goal, Portugal couldn't hold off the African upstarts.
Kennedy Ashia put Ghana on the board first, ripping a shot from just outside the box past a sprawling Jose Sa in the 19th minute. It was the first time Portugal had trailed in the tournament.
But Portgual responded with a bang in the second half, scoring two goals within three minutes. Tiago Mendes got the party started in the 70th minute, receiving a pass in the box from Bruma and rifling home a first-time, left-footed shot.
Minutes later, Edgar Miguel Ie struck, heading home Ricardo Esgaio's lovely cross into the box.
That would have been enough to crush the spirit of many teams, but not Ghana, as the African side equalized in the 79th minute behind a Michael Anaba strike.
And shockingly, Ghana would score the winner in the 85th minute off an amazing free kick from Yiadom Boakye. At an impossible angle from just outside the left of the box, Boakye sent his shot directly between two Portuguese defenders. Jose Sa couldn't push the ball out of danger, clearly shocked that the ball curled back toward his goal in the first place.
It was one of the more bizarre free kicks you'll see, but enough to push Ghana to the quarterfinals against Chile.
Chile Defeats Croatia, 2-0
It was a rough day for the European sides in Wednesday's early action, as Chile knocked off Croatia, 2-0, behind Nicolas Castillo's 80th minute strike and Jozo Simunovic's own goal just four minutes later.
The match opened as a rather cagey battle in the midfield, with neither team looking particularly threatening. Eventually the match would open up a bit, but things really got cooking in the second 45.
For all of the chances Croatia created, however, the team was unable to push anything past keeper Darío Melo despite getting eight shots on goal.
Eventually, Chile would strike. Some lovely service into the box from Sebastian Martinez found Castillo's head, and he didn't disappoint, redirecting the ball (while facing away from the goal) past a helpless Oliver Zelenika.
Minutes later, Simunovic's attempt to block Christian Bravo's cross into the box instead sent the ball into the net, ending any hopes of a comeback. It was a tough finish for a Croatian side that surely felt it could advance to the next round.
Chile will next face upstart Ghana in the quarterfinals.
South Korea Defeats Colombia, 1-1 (8-7 penalty kicks)
South Korea tasted victory, heartbreak and victory again in a matter of minutes in this U-20 World Cup match, eventually pulling off a stunning upset of Colombia in penalty-kick fashion.
Woo Ju Sung would strike first for the Koreans in the shootout, but Juan Fernando Quintero would strike right back to help Colombia keep pace.
The two sides split their next two attempts, leaving the tally at 2-2. Each country then refused to budge over their next five shots, with Colombia tying things up each time the Koreans would take a brief lead on the scoreboard.
A 7-7 draw turned into an 8-7 Korea lead off the foot of Lee Gwanghun, and that strike would prove to be the winning score after Deivy Balanta could not find the net and keep the score tied at eight.
Song Ju Hun first got Korea on the board in the 15th minute, a goal that would lead the underdog side to some brilliant team defense in the 75 minutes to follow.
South Korea looked poised to complete the stunning upset as the match moved past 90 minutes on the ticker, but Quintero gave Colombia new life with a free-kick goal from just outside the right box.
It proved to be just a temporary solution to a permanent problem—not finishing at the net.
Colombia largely dominated the match after the Ju Hun goal, but missed opportunities in the second half will likely be looked back on as disappointing when the U-20's re-watch the events of extra time and penalties.
South Korea will now prepare for Iraq in the quarterfinals.
Iraq Defeats Paraguay, 1-0
Scoreless after 90 minutes and added time, Iraq and Paraguay would have to settle their quarrel on Wednesday in extra time.
Iraq's Frahan Shakor got his side on the board in the 94th minute, breaking the scoreless draw and doing enough to move the Iraqis into the quarterfinals.
Both sides were rather aggressive on the attack for most of the match. Iraq totaled 20 shots to Paraguay's 19 (via FIFA.com); 12 of Paraguay's shots were on goal and led to the a fierce test for Iraqi keeper Mohammed Hameed.
Hameed proved up to the challenge, thwarting several late Paraguay chances and holding his ground in added time of the extra frame.
Iraq will now face South Korea in the the next round of the competition. The field of eight in the U-20 quarterfinals is now officially set, with the four winners from Wednesday joining France, Uzbekistan, Spain and Uruguay.
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