Korea Republic advance, Saudi Arabia's run ends
Tychy: Korea Republic produced a stunning performance to defeat Argentina while Saudi Arabia's 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland campaign came to an end on Friday.
Korea Republic defeated six-time champions Argentina 2-1 in their final Group F match to finish second in the standings behind the South Americans on goal difference, sealing a Round of 16 showdown with Asian rivals Japan on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, exited the tournament after falling to their third consecutive defeat as they went down 2-1 to Panama in Group E.
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KOREA REPUBLIC 2-1 ARGENTINA
Korea Republic advanced to the last 16 after ending Argentina’s unblemished start with a deserved 2-1 win in Tychy.
Argentina advanced as group winners all the same due to a superior goal difference but, after having it all their own way in their opening two matches, found themselves outplayed and outgunned by Korea Republic.
The Asian side created the better chances in a physical, fast-paced game, and only a desperate goal-line clearance from Maximiliano Centurion prevented Cho Young-wook firing them into a 25th-minute lead.
The breakthrough came three minutes before half-time, though, when Oh Se-hun crashed home an unstoppable header from Lee Kang-in’s tantalising left-footed cross.
Argentina pushed for an equaliser but made little headway and the outcome never looked in doubt after Cho swept Korea Republic’s second into the roof of the net following a fine run on the left by the lively Jeong Ho-jin.
Cristian Ferrera did pull a goal back two minutes from time with a speculative long-range shot that deceived keeper Lee Gwangyeon, but it was to prove too little, too late for the South American hopefuls.
Korea Republic now go on to face continental rivals Japan in the Round of 16, while Argentina will take on Mali.
SAUDI ARABIA 1-2 PANAMA
Panama defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1 to secure the first FIFA U-20 World Cup Finals victory in the country's history.
Panama opened the scoring with a well-worked goal down the left flank. Jorge Mendez played in Ernesto Walker, who found Axel McKenzie with a short cut-back pass, and the Tauro forward finished from close range with his first touch.
Nawaf Alghamdi came up with a couple of saves to keep Saudi Arabia within touching distance, and those stops proved to be even more crucial as the game unfolded.
After the break, Green Falcons forward scored a superb equaliser for Saudi Arabia, bringing down right-back Saud Abdulhamid's pinpoint long-range cross with his right foot before turning and hitting a left-foot volley past Panama goalkeeper Marcos Allen.
Panama threatened Alghamdi's goal several times in the second half, with Tomas Rodriguez striking the post before they were finally able to restore their lead.
Angel Orelien's powerful shot stung the palms of Alghamdi and substitute Diego Valanta was in the right place at the right time to tap into the open goal as Panama advanced as one of the best four third-placed teams. They will face Ukraine next.
Sources: FIFA.com, FIFA via Getty Images
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