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FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017

Third-place survivors meet table-toppers

(FIFA.com)
Federico Valverde of Uruguay kicks a corner
© Getty Images
  • South American contenders take on Saudi Arabia
  • *Costa Rica face in-form England *
  • African champions Zambia meet struggling Germany

*MATCHDAY PREVIEW *– On the second day of Round of 16 action at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, Uruguay continue their quest for glory back in Suwon, where they will face Saudi Arabia. While the South Americans defeated Italy and Japan and held South Africa to a goalless draw in topping Group D, their Asian opponents needed a dramatic equaliser against USA to take a share of the spoils and progress to the knockout phase as one of the best third-placed sides.

England, who denied hosts Korea Republic top spot in Group A, go head-to-head with Costa Rica, the third-placed team from Group C. Meanwhile, Zambia, who themselves lost to Costa Rica but still topped their group, go up against a Germany side that struggled to make it into the knockout phase. 

*The games *Round of 16: Uruguay-Saudi Arabia | England-Costa Rica | Zambia-Germany

*What you need to know *

1

Uruguay coach Fabian Coito confidently declared his side were targeting nothing short of the title when the official group draw for Korea 2017 was made back in March. And while his charges remain on course, having topped Group D, they may be disappointed to have averaged only a goal per game thus far.

2

England may not be the most stylish team at Korea Republic 2017, but they have impressed with their simple and direct style of play. In their opening fixture against Argentina, they had to defend resolutely for long periods, yet still ran out comfortable 3-0 winners through swift counter-attacks and incisive finishing. In their second fixture against Guinea, a defensive error meant the Three Lions had to settle for a point, while a more consistent performance against the hosts gave them the win they needed to top Group A. 

3

 Among the teams to progress from the group stage, Costa Rica are the joint-lowest scorers (alongside Senegal) with only two goals. Indeed, Los Ticos’ place in the last 16 owes much to the brilliant performances of goalkeeper Erick Pineda, so they will surely need to improve their finishing, if they are to progress further in the tournament.

4

 For all their impressive firepower up front, African champions Zambia have looked vulnerable at times at the back. They went two-down inside 50 minutes in their second Group C match against Iran, but hit back with four goals in 17 minutes to complete an impressive comeback. Against Costa Rica, however, Zambia failed to find the net, conceded two penalties and slumped to their first loss.

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