FIFA U-17 World Cup 2013: Previewing All of Sunday's Matches
The FIFA U-17 World Cup is officially underway, and there are four big matches to watch for on Sunday.
The U-17 World Cup is currently in the middle of group stage play. The top two teams from each group, along with the four best third-place teams, will advance to the knockout stage, which will begin on October 28.
There will be four matches played on Sunday with eight total teams from Group A and Group B. These will be their second of three matches in group play, so every minute counts if these teams want to advance to the knockout stage.
With that being said, let's take a quick look at these four matches.
Slovakia vs. Honduras
Which team has a better shot at making it to the knockout stage?
Two teams with completely opposite starts to group play will be going up in this one, and it should be interesting to see how Slovakia can bounce back.
Slovakia is coming off of a tough 6-1 loss to Brazil. Mosquito came up with a hat trick for Brazil, scoring in the 17th, 31st and 70th minutes. Meanwhile, Denis Vavro scored the only goal for Slovakia, coming in the 68th minute.
For Honduras, they were able to grab their first ever win in the U-17 world finals after winning 2-1 over the United Arab Emirates. Fredy Medina got things rolling to put Honduras up 1-0, while Brayan Velasquez grabbed a goal in the 86th minute to give Honduras their historic victory.
Neither of these teams are favorites to advance very far this year, but another win for Honduras would put them in great position to advance to the knockout stage.
United Arab Emirates vs. Brazil
A true title contender will be taking on a rising force in this one, but it's going to be hard for the Emiratis to take down Canarinho in this one.
Brazil is one of the favorites to win it all this year, and for good reason. They have a number of big playmakers, including Mosquito, Abner and Boschilia. A lot of these guys played together in 2011 when they won the South American U-15 Championship. Back in qualifying for this year's World Cup, they allowed just 0.6 goals per game.
The Emiratis have some weapons of their own, however, and they won't go down without a fight. Attacker Al Akberi Mohamed has been spectacular since returning from an injury. Meanwhile, Khaled Khalfan was able to score a goal in the 33rd minute in the team's 2-1 loss to Honduras.
It won't be easy, but the Emiratis are a talented group with a number of weapons, and if they play as close to perfect as possible, they have a shot to pull off the upset win.
Uruguay vs. Ivory Coast
If anyone wants to have a shot at winning the U-17 World Cup, chances are they're going to have to go through Uruguay.
It was an incredible start for Uruguay in their first match, dominating New Zealand in a 7-0 win. Five different players scored on the day, with Leandro Otormin and Franco Acosta scoring twice each. In the South American U-17 Championship, they scored 20 goals, the most of any team.
For the Ivory Coast, this is their fourth appearance ever in the finals. They lost a tough one in a 0-1 match against Italy to start play, but they're a team focused more on defense than scoring.
Uruguay's best finish came in 2011, when they were runners-up. Meanwhile, the Ivory Coast finished in third in 1987. Uruguay is continuing to show that they are a serious title contender, so this may be another loss for the Ivory Coast.
Italy vs. New Zealand
These two teams combined to score just one goal in their first matches, so it will be interesting to see what happens in this one.
Despite plenty of success at the senior level, Italy has never won a global title in a younger age group. Their best finish at the U-17 level came back in 1987, finishing fourth.
After the 1-0 win over the Ivory Coast, Italy is looking to keep the success going. Luca Vido was able to get Italy their only goal in the 46th minute of the win. Italy also has some key players in Alberto Cerri, Mario Pugliese and Gennaro Tutino.
New Zealand is still dealing with the shock from losing that 7-0 game against Uruguay. After looking quite strong in their qualifying matches, including a 9-0 win over the Cook Islands, it's going to be really hard to get their confidence back after losing like that.
This is certainly a bounce-back game for New Zealand, while Italy is looking to put up their second win in two matches. Neither team got much going offensively, so this could be a match where both sides decide to go all-out.
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