Peter Taylor’s England suffered a major blow in their opening game of the Under-20 World Cup with a disappointing 2-2 draw against Iraq. In other games, Uzbekistan put three past New Zealand and Croatia nabbed a crucial 1-0 over Uruguay. Will Burns and Andy Powell covers all in the round-up below.
CHILE 2-1 EGYPT
Both teams came into this match harbouring thoughts of being a dark horse in the tournament however it was Chile with a team packed full of individual talent who came away from the match with the victory.
Chile started the game the better, dominating possession and making Egypt work, but looking vulnerable at the back when Egypt countered. The African champions Egypt took the lead in the 10th minute, when striker Mahmoud Kahraba burst behind the Chile defence slotting the ball past Dario Melo. The Egyptian striker should have made it 2 however he grazed the far post with a shot. Chile, still dominating possession, equalised on 25 when some great teamwork play made its way to Nicolas Castillo whose shot took a deflection off a defender which chipped over the keeper into the back of the net. The rest of the half was finished without much further incident.
The second half was started in a similar fashion, Chile dominating possession, but Egypt looking ever dangerous on the counter and should have been ahead again with Trezeguet rattling the side netting from a good move.
Chile’s persistence paid off with a fine taken goal in the 76th minute as they took the lead for the first time in the game. Christian Bravo, who came on as a sub, did well to work his way past Metwaly Mahmoud before slotting a low ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1. Their joy was short lived, however, when Christian Cuevas was shown a straight red card for his two-footed tackle on Saleh Gomaa, reducing Chile to ten men for the remaining ten minutes of the game. It was Chile’s 5th red card throughout the competition, with 4 coming in the qualification. Egypt could not capitalise on their advantage, and the game finished with a Chile win – ANDY POWELL
ENGLAND 2-2 IRAQ
England were patient and it backfired as Iraq scored a late equaliser to gain a point at the expense of Peter Taylor’s side. England were 2-0 up with just 15 minutes remaining but Iraq fought back to gain the shocking point.
The Three Lions went in at half-time a goal to the good, with the game finally getting a goal on 40 minutes, scored by the captain Conor Coady. It was a superbly worked corner, sent in by James Ward-Prowse flicked on by striker Harry Kane towards the back post for Coady to head home. It was the Liverpool man’s first ever goal at this level.
Luke Williams of Middlesborough grabbed the second in a great counter-attack move. Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone had pulled off a terrific double save to keep England the lead and the ball ended up at the other end of the pitch thanks to a superb run from Kane. The Tottenham Hotspur youngster set-up for Williams to tap home with ease.
Johnstone brought down to give away a penalty which Mohanad Abdulraheem was brought down, luckily for England, the referee only dished out a yellow card. It was 74 minutes and Ali Faez easily beat Johnstone with the spot-kick to the left side of the goal.
The very impressive Ali Adnan notched the dramatic leveller three minutes into stoppage time and Iraq had been looking threatening since the penalty. Adnan picked the ball up out wide, and beat three England defenders before blasting the ball past Johnstone.
A shocking result for Peter Taylor to take and it was a case of two points lost for his team, as the Three Lions throw away a two-goal lead through some defensive errors late on. A bad start for England – WILL BURNS
NEW ZEALAND 0-3 UZBEKISTAN
Uzbekistan began their Group F campaign at the Under-20 World Cup in style with a successful 3-0 win over New Zealand on Sunday afternoon.
The All Whites enjoyed most of the early possession, but Uzbekistan took the lead with their first attempt on goal after 14 minutes when Abbosbek Makhstaliev found the back of the net from close range. The ball fell to Makhstaliev after a poor kick out by goalkeeper Maxime Crocombe.
New Zealand did have chances to get back into the game with Hamish Watson and Tyler Boyd coming close in the first-half, but Uzbekistan entered the interval with a one goal lead. It was doubled in the early stages of the second period when Igor Sergeev burst into the box before finding the bottom corner in the 53rd minute.
Diyorjon Turapov made sure of the points on 67 minutes with a fantastic looping shot over Crocombe from the edge of the box.
Next up for Uzbekistan is a clash with Croatia on June 26, while the New Zealanders face South American group favourites Uruguay – WILL BURNS
URUGUAY 0-1 CROATIA
A first half strike from Ante Rebic was enough to secure a win for Croatia in their opening fixture in the World Cup.
Dinko Jelicic’s men had the chance to take the lead from the spot in the 22nd minute, but Atalanta striker Marko Livaja smashed his kick off the woodwork. However, Rebic found the net five minutes before half time with one of the few shots they had on goal in the first period.
The South Americans dominated after half time, and ploughed forward looking for the equalising goal, with Nicolas Lopez striking the frame of Oliver Zelenika’s goal, but they could not find the crucial goal.
The result puts Croatia in 2nd in the group after 1 game, and with a big game against New Zealand next, could all but qualify from the group before playing favourites Uzbekistan. Uruguay will need to beat the Uzbeks in a bid to make it past the group stage – ANDY POWELL