France vs. Uruguay: Players to Watch in FIFA Under-20 World Cup Final
The final is set. France will play Uruguay for the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup title Saturday in Istanbul, Turkey.
France reached the final by beating Ghana 2-1 in the semifinals, and Uruguay ended Iraq's fairytale run with a 7-6 penalty-shootout victory after a 1-1 draw.
Here are five players to watch out for in Saturday's final. Have any more? Add them in the comments below.
French midfielder Paul Pogba joined Juventus from Manchester United last summer and totaled five goals in 27 Serie A apperances for the Italian champions in 2012-13.
Still just 20, Pogba brings more experience—he made eight appearances in the UEFA Champions League last season—than most at this level. And for such a young player, he has already developed an impressive skill set.
As ESPN FC writes:
Pogba is a perfect combination of Juve's midfield maestros and a tad reminiscent of a certain Patrick Viera. Well versed tactically, his outstanding vision allows him to pick out perfect passes, whilst his excellent timing permits him to make perfect runs to latch on to through-balls and convert. He is physically strong, blessed with two perfect feet and tactically intelligent.
Strong, smart and athletically gifted, Pogba has the tools to become a star at the senior international level, where he has already been capped twice. So far in the Under-20 World Cup, Pogba has scored once in five appearances.
Guillermo Varela, a 20-year-old Uruguayan full-back, was the first signing of new Manchester United manager David Moyes. His former coach, Peñarol's Jorge Da Silva, said the big-time move was only what Varela deserved, per BBC Sport.
Want to see for yourself? Tune in for the final.
In the meantime, check out Sam Tighe's B/R profile here.
Florian Thauvin, a 20-year-old attacking midfielder, scored 10 goals in 32 Ligue 1 appearances last season for Bastia. That production reportedly earned some interest from Arsenal of the Premier League, but Thauvin instead decided to remain in France and join Lille ahead of the 2013-14 season.
His development seems to be progressing smoothly. Thauvin scored two classy goals in France's semifinal win over Ghana (the second, the match winner, appears above), and has three total goals in the competition so far.
Nico Lopez, 19, scored once in six substitute appearances last season for AS Roma in Italy's Serie A. With his strong performance this summer at the Under-20 World Cup, both totals could be set to rise next term.
Lopez scored twice in the round of 16, including the winner from the penalty spot, as Uruguay defeated Nigeria. He has four goals to his credit so far, and that total could keep rising.
Especially if he takes his chances better than he did in the semifinal.
Young French players have a history of finding success at Arsenal, and both Arsenal fans and Yaya Sanogo will be hoping Sanogo can follow in the footsteps of former Gunners like Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.
Sanogo, a 20-year-old French striker, officially joined Arsenal this month after a long courtship. His return of four goals at the Under-20 World Cup has been impressive.
Can he lead France to the title and win the Golden Boot at the same time?
If not, there's always the post office.