Soccer (football), Sport

FIFA U-20 World Cup pre-match analysis – Day 2

Honduras U-20 – New Zealand U-20

Venue: Arena Lublin

The first match of Group C will be played between Honduras and New Zealand. Up until now, these teams have only met once, almost two years ago and the winner that time was New Zealand (3-1). Looks like this time it will be a more even match.

Honduras is taking part in these World Cup Championships for the 8th time but has never achieved significant success (never reached the last 16). The Central American nation qualified after finishing 4th in the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championships in the United States and they have done well in their recent matches (won 5 out of 8 games).

For New Zealand, it will be their 6th appearance at these championships. Their biggest success to date is reaching the last 16 in 2015 and 2017. New Zealand qualified after winning the 2018 OFC U-19 Championship (1-0 vs Tahiti in Final) and they are unbeaten so far in 2019 (1 draw, 1 win).

STATSCORE prediction: Draw

Qatar U-20 – Nigeria U-20

Venue: Stadion Miejski w Tychach, Tychy

The first game in Group D will be a meeting between teams who never played against each other before.

Qatar is participating in the U-20 World Cup for the 4th time and their greatest success is reaching the final in 1981, where they lost 4-0 against West Germany. Qatar qualified for this tournament in Poland via the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship, where they won their quarter-final match against Thailand 7-3, but then went on to be defeated 3-1 by South Korea in the semi-finals. Qatar has lost 3 of their last 4 matches, which is not a good sign before their first group match.

Nigeria, who were drawn from pot 2 are appearing in these championships for the 12th time. They were very close to winning the tournament in 1989 (2-0 loss against Portugal) and 2005 (2-1 loss against Argentina). Nigeria qualified after finishing 4th at the 2019 CAF Africa U-20 Cup of Nations, where they lost the 3rd place play-off in a penalty shootout against South Africa. The Flying Eagles are unbeaten in 5 of their last 6 matches in 2019 and they are big favorites for this match.

STATSCORE prediction: Nigeria win

Ukraine U-20 – USA U-20

Venue: Stadion Miejski, Bielsko-Biała

The second match in group D will be the meeting between two teams that played twice before (a draw in 2001 and a victory to Ukraine in 2015).

Participation in this U-20 World Cup will be Ukraine’s fourth championship appearance and they qualified after reaching the semi-finals at the 2018 UEFA European U-19 Championship where they lost 5-0 against Portugal. In their last three performances in this competition, they have never advanced to the quarterfinals. Ukraine has a team consisting mainly of players appearing in the Ukrainian league. So far in 2019 they have played 4 matches and have not lost any of them.

The United States is the team predicted to win group D. It is their 16th appearance at these U-20 World Cup Championships, making them one of the most experienced teams in this competition. Their biggest success is coming fourth in 1989. They qualified for this tournament in Poland, after winning the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship on home soil. In their squad they have many players that are part of famous football clubs like Timothy Weah (PSG but loan to Celtic Glasgow), Sergino Dest (Ajax), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich), Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona), Uly Llanez Jr. (VfL Wolfsburg), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven) and CJ dos Santos (Benfica). They have also won 9 of their last 11 matches and this is something that should scare opponents.

STATSCORE prediction: USA win

Uruguay U-20 – Norway U-20

Venue: Stadion Widzewa, Łódź

The last match of day 2 will be a duel between Uruguay and Norway. These teams have never played with each other, but the La Celeste’s team is the clear favorite for this match.

For Uruguay, it will be their 15th appearance in the U-20 World Cup. They were runners-up in 1997 (loss to Argentina) and in 2013 (loss to France). They guaranteed themselves an appearance in this tournament after finishing third at the CONMEBOL 2019 South American U-20 Championship. In 2019 they are unbeaten in 8 of their last 10 matches. They also have a lot of perspective players in the squad like Franco Israel (Juventus F.C.), Bruno Méndez (Corinthians), Ronald Araújo (Barcelona) and Juan Sanabria (Atlético Madrid). La Celeste are the clear favorite to win Group C.

Norway will be contesting their 3rd tournament after defeating England 3-0 in the FIFA U-20 World Cup play-offs at the 2018 UEFA European U-19 Championships. This is Norway’s first appearance in the World Cup since 1993 and they never reached the last 16. The Scandinavians have played only two matches in 2019, but thanks to goals from the team’s star – Erling Haland (Red Bull Salzburg) they have won both games.

STATSCORE prediction: Uruguay win

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