U-20 World Cup: Victories for Italy, Nigeria, Japan and Colombia

Teams in groups C and D squared off in their first matches

Yesterday, U-20 Football World Cup groups C and D played their opening matches, with victories for Italy, Nigeria, Japan, and Colombia.


Italy beat Brazil 3-2, but after picking up a 3-0 lead while barely breaking a sweat, they found themselves pressured by their opponents towards the end of the second half. The Europeans got off to a solid start, scoring 10 minutes in after Pratti received a cross from left to right and kicked it into the back of the net. 

The second goal by Italy’s squadra azurra came 26 minutes in after a left-hand corner led to a header by Casadei, who scored again at 34 minutes in a penalty conversion. Two second-half goals by Brazil weren’t enough to turn the result around.

Nigeria-Dominican Republic

Nigeria beat the Dominican Republic 2-1 in a match completely dominated by the African team, showing greater physical stamina. Yet the clearly overwhelmed Dominican team played a counter offensive strategy and actually opened the score 22 minutes in, with a penalty kick by Ascona. 

Nigeria kept attacking until a failed attempt at getting the ball out resulted in Dominican De Pena scoring an own goal. By the second half, the Nigerian team increased its offensive and eventually managed to turn over the score 24 minutes in, when Lawal scored after a pass by Nnadi. 


Japan beat Senegal 1-0 in La Plata’s Diego Maradona stadium in front of nearly 9,000 spectators. Fourteen minutes in, a powerful shot from Japanese captain Kuryu Matsuki put the team ahead. It was the only goal of the match: a goal from Samba Diallo was disallowed after a check with the video assistant referee showed he had been offside. A couple of wasted opportunities meant the African team never quite managed to score an equalizer.

The win puts Japan level with Colombia with three points. The two will play on Wednesday, while Senegal will face Italy.

At the end of Group D’s first day, Italy and Nigeria lead with three points, while Brazil and the Dominican Republic have zero. 


Colombia beat Israel 2-1 in the Group C opening match in La Plata, with a last-minute goal by Gustavo Puerta, and is now the group lead.

The first half ended with no goals, although Israel came close to scoring four times. The goals came in the second half, with penalty kicks for each team: Dor Turgeman opened the tab for Israel and Colombia’s Oscar Cortés tied it after a VAR call. From then on, Colombia’s attack increased until a fine individual play by Colombian captain Puerta resulted in a goal that tipped the match for Colombia minutes away from the ending. 

During the match, a Colombian man, identified as Patiño Cifuentes Michael Andrés, was arrested after he showed a Palestinian flag together with other fans, reported the Agency for Prevention against Violence in Sports (Aprevide). According to security forces officials, an investigation was opened by the La Plata Correctional Court #4 for “incitement to violence in sports”.  



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