By Eniola Olatunji
…Korea beats Columbia 3-2 to claim U20 Quarterfinal ticket.
QUARTERFINAL PAIRINGS AT A GLANCE.
1. Isr. Vs Bra @San Juan on Saturday @ 1830 hrs.
2. Col Vs Ita @ San Juan on Saturday @ 2200 hrs.
3. Ecu Vs Ngr @ Madre on Sunday @ 1830 hrs.
4. USA Vs Uru @ Madre on Sunday @ 2200 hrs.
Korean Republic Thursday night dumped hard fighting Ecuador 3-2 in the round of 16 at Mandre Stadium in Argentina to march on to the quarterfinals against the Flying Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday.
Korea scored two early goals to unsettle Ecuador. Young-Jun Lee who scored the winner against France at the Group stages got a Jun-Ho Bae pass to score in the 11th minute and Jun-Ho Bae made it secong goal in the 19th minute from C. Park assist.
Justin Cuero who scored in two previous matches, 2 goals against Fiji Islands and one against Slovakia scored the first goal for Columbia in the 36th minute. Defender Seok-Huun Cho jumped higher than any other player to beautifully nod home the 3rd goal that rocked the roof of the net.
Midfielder Gonzalez Baguero slotted home the second goal for Ecuador in the 84th minute raising the adrenal of football fans for possible hypertension from expecting the equalizer which just refused to come despite spirited efforts by the Columbians.
Thus the fast playing attackers of The Red Devils of South Korea will face The Flying Eagles of Nigeria in the 3rd Quarterfinals on Sunday at 1830 hours.
Ecuador lost to USA in their first match 1-0; beat Slovakia 2-1 and mauled Fiji Island in the yet to be erased highest team score in a match at the U20 level 9-0. Ecuador beat Dominic Republic 3-0 and lost to New Zealand 0-1.
The La Tricolor of Ecuador had 4 appearances at the U20 World cup finals. The country was stopped twice at the Round of 16 stage in 2001 and 2011. At Poland 2019 Ecuador exploded getting into the semifinals but was stopped by South Korea that won 3-2. In the Losers’ final, Ecuador defeated Italy by a lone goal to win the Bronze. At the Poland Games, Man Mountain Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Norway was the highest Goal Scorer with 9 goals.
South Korea was beaten by France 2-1; played 2-2 with Honduras and goalless with Gambia. South Korea spanked China 3-0 and lost to Uzbekistan 0-1.
The Red Devils of South Korea are in their 15th appearance with their best performance at the Poland games in 2019 when Ukraine defeated the Asian champions 3-1 in the final after the Red Devils had won a slim 1-0 victory over Ecuador in the semifinals. South Korea placed 4th in 1983 at Mexico losing the Bronze to Poland 1-2 AET after losing in the semifinals to Brazil 1-2. There were three appearances in the quarterfinal in 1991; 2009 and 2013.
The Semifinal pairing, all slated for the Stadium in La Plata will likely look like this. USA/Uru vs Isr/Bra on Thursday at 1830 and Col/Ita vs Ngr/Skor at 2200 hours.
Eniola Olatunji reporting for Patmos Media Line.