France and Portugal are a surprise matchup in the semifinals of the 2011 U-20 World Cup. Few people expected either team to advance this far, but both squads are clearly deserving.
Now they will battle on Wednesday, August 18 at 5 p.m. local time for the right to go to the finals.
Portugal arrived by winning Group B with wins against Cameroon and New Zealand and earning a lackluster draw with Uruguay, the fourth-place team in the group. They then knocked off Guatemala by a score of 1-0 in the Round of 16, and that led to an epic showdown with Argentina.
Portugal took Argentina to a penalty kick shootout and at one point trailed 3-1 in that shootout. They were able to knot the shootout at three and then prevail in the seventh round of kicks.
Meanwhile, France has improved as play has progressed. They got off to a slow start with a blowout loss to Colombia, 4-1. They quickly turned things around, though, as they won their next two matches by a combined score of 5-1.
They then took down Ecuador 1-0, in the Round of 16, and advanced to take on a talented team from Nigeria.
Nigeria dominated that game as they controlled 54 percent of the possession. They also took eight more shots on goal, had fewer yellow cards and more corner kicks. But the France squad came up big when it mattered, and they pushed that contest into extra time.
France dominated in extra time by netting two early goals, and now they are in their first ever U-20 World Cup semifinals.
This contest should be wide open with these two evenly matched teams. Be sure to check back here often as we update all the news before, and the results after, this match.
Also, keep it locked to Bleacher Report's World Football page for all the latest news and analysis from around the sport and the U-20 World Cup.