The United States’ stunning come back to topple favorites France at the U-20 World Cup in Poland was followed up by the battle for the eighth quarterfinalist slot.
It took penalty kicks, as Mali and Argentina staged a thriller of their own that sat 2-2 after 120 minutes.
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Aboudlaye Diaby had a wild day, scoring an equalizer in regulation before conceding an own goal in the first minute of extra time and then scoring in penalty kicks as Mali clinched a spot in the final eight.
So who is going to win this thing, especially with France now out of the mix?
8) Ecuador — By putting them here, we’re assuring that La Tricolor will upset the Americans in the next round.
7) South Korea — The only team left from its group, they face a match-up problem with quarterfinal opponent Senegal.
6) Colombia — The wild card of the quarterfinalists, it’s difficult to have a read on Los Cafeteros other than to say its win over the hosts on Day One is laudable.
5) Mali — It may look insane to have Mali so low, given how exciting their matches have been and their taking of France to the wire, but nine goals allowed in four matches isn’t promising much.
4) United States — It’s just as easy to argue they can win the tournament than it is to say the Baby Yanks will bow out against Ecuador.
3) Ukraine — Still relatively untested after waxing Panama, but has to sit above the Baby Yanks after beating them in the group stage.
2) Senegal — Unbeaten with a pair of clean sheets on their record, the Senegalese are in the better part of the bracket when it comes to seeking the title.
- Italy — Vintage, tactical Italy has allowed one goal through four matches while averaging a single goal per game. Next up is a Mali team who’s shown an ability to be easily opened up by nearly every attack on the schedule.