- Hosts Korea Republic eliminated by Portugal
- Second Asian side put out in shape of Japan
- Venezuela reach quarter-finals for the very first time
THE DAY REPLAYED – Fans’ dreams of FIFA U-20 World Cup glory on home soil crumbled today, as Korea Republic saw their tournament end with defeat to Portugal In Cheonan. The rejuvenated Europeans progressed to the quarter-finals with a slick display, led by two-goal hero Xadas.
Venezuela, meanwhile, sent home another of Asia’s challengers in the shape of Japan, as they ensured that Korea Republic 2017 will live long in the memory. La Vintotinto qualified for the last eight for the first time in their history. It took two hours to achieve, however, with captain Yangel Herrera ensuring one potential fairy tale stays alive.
Portugal: Serial party poopers
One thing has become clear in the last 12 months; if you’re hosting a festival of football in your backyard, do not invite Portugal. Their men’s sides have effectively eliminated the last four host teams they have faced. Starting with breaking French hearts in the UEFA EURO 2016 final, their U-17s and U-19s beat Azerbaijan and Germany in the group stages to ensure they did not progress, before putting Korea Republic to the sword tonight. Russia will be nervously anticipating their FIFA Confederations Cup meeting on 21 June...
Yangel Herrera arrived in Korea Republic with plenty of prior expectations. On the books at Manchester City, the Venezuela midfielder has spent the last few months at New York City FC, training with the likes of FIFA World Cup™ winner Andrea Pirlo. While his reliability in midfield is akin to the Italian, his winner for the South Americans was far from reminiscent of the free-kick maestro. A powerful leap to meet an extra-time corner, his header propelled La Vinotinto to a first ever U-20 World Cup quarter-final at Japan’s expense.
Singing till the end
There was a deafening silence ringing round the Cheonan Sports Complex when Xadas netted his second, and Portugal’s third, against Korea Republic tonight. It was the moment the home fans knew their U-20 World Cup dreams was all but over. After that moment of quiet contemplation, however, the drums and chanting rumbled and rang once again – features that have made all four of the hosts’ games a cauldron of noise. The loudest sound of the night was saved for Lee Sangheon, however, as his goal ensured they went out fighting.
“We couldn’t score so this is on our attack. I may have scored three goals, but we came here to win the competition. We need to learn from this tournament and build on it for the next one.”
Ritsu Doan, Japan forward
Sunday 4 June
More from Korea Republic
Una foto en la intimidad de nuestro espacio, antes de ir al descanso, luego del triunfo vs Japón y compartiéndola con todo nuestro país. pic.twitter.com/Bln2wgnY8G
— Rafael Dudamel (@rafaeldudamel) May 30, 2017