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Ecuador tops Italy to secure third place in U-20 World Cup

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A lackluster regular time in Gdynia gave way to an excitingly open  extra time as Ecuador secured third place in the 2019 U-20 World Cup.

Just five combined shots found the target through normal time as no goals were scored, but with tired legs the extra-time period was end-to-end and Ecuador capitalized.

First, Italy had a chance to go in front but were wasteful all day and the 95th moment was no exception. Marco Olivieri drew the foul on the edge of the penalty area and stepped up to take the spot-kick, but he was denied by Wellington Ramirez on his penalty. Olivieri’s woes nearly compounded minutes later as he was shown a red card for a bad tackle but VAR reduced the punishment to a yellow.

Richard Mina was then the hero of the hour for Ecuador, scoring in the 104th minute on a set-piece delivered by Diego Palacios and headed on by Olivieri who attempted to clear but only sent it right to the feet of Mina for the poke.

Italy pressed hard for an equalizer after the short extra-time break but they remained wasteful as Luca Ranieri scuffed a great chance in the 117th minute. Italy threw men forward but were out of gas and Ecuador held most of the meaningful possession down the stretch. All told, both sides were wasteful, with just nine shots on target for 31 total efforts, with Italy managing just two on net.

The finish for Italy is disappointing, but still notable to follow up their third-place result two years ago. For Ecuador, the result is even more groundbreaking, marking their best finish in a U-20 World Cup ever, with the previous high only a pair of Round of 16 appearances, most recently in 2011. Ukraine and South Korea will vie for the U-20 World Cup title on Tuesday.

U.S. U-20s lose to Ecuador in World Cup quarters

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Ecuador beat the U.S. 2-1 on Saturday in Poland, as Tab Ramos’ side crashed out of the U-20 World Cup.

A fine strike from Jose Cifuentes put Ecuador ahead but then Tim Weah equalized in a topsy-turvy first half in Gdynia, Poland.

The winning goal arrived just before half time as Ecuador’s captain Jhon Espinoza bundled home and the U.S. failed to create any real clear-cut chances in the second half as their South American opponents looked more likely to find the back of the net.

Overall, this was a disappointing to the World Cup for the U.S. after their heroic comeback to beat France in the Round of 16. For large periods of this game they lacked energy and were totally overpowered in central midfield.

Ecuador will now play either South Korea or Senegal in the semifinal on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Latest U-20 World Cup news

The U.S. had plenty of chances early on as Weah was proving to be a handful for the Ecuadorian defense, but just when it looked like the game would turn into a midfield battle, it exploded into life.

But then Ecuador took the lead as Chris Durkin turned the ball over and Jose Cifuentes ran towards goal unopposed and smashed home a fine effort on target. 1-0.

Alex Mendez then curled a free kick just wide for the U.S. as the Stars and Stripes battled their way back into the game and Weah equalized before half time.

A corner from the left saw the ball deflect into the air and Weah was there to volley home and make it 1-1.

Sebastian Soto was then inches away from getting on the end of Weah’s teasing cross as the U.S. were dominant but Ecuador were a real threat on the break. And that was how they went ahead before the break.

A stunning strike from distance hit the crossbar and captain Jhon Espinoza followed up to bundle the ball home and make it 2-1.

A lengthy VAR check looked at the goal but it was correctly allowed as Ecuador led at half time.

In the second half Ecuador had plenty of the ball but the U.S. squandered a great chance to equalize. Soto was found at the back post and he squirmed free before flicking a shot into the side-netting.

David Ochoa kept the U.S. in the game late on as Espinoza’s cross found Alvarado in the box but Ochoa pushed his header away for a corner. From that corner Ecuador went even closer to going 3-1 up as a superb flicked header from Porozo hit the bar and came back out.

Late on the U.S. chucked plenty of players forward but Ochoa was again called into action but he denied Campana’s powerful strike after a poor giveaway from Durkin.

In the end, Ecuador held on for the win in comfortable fashion as the U.S. saw their run at the U20 World Cup come to an end.

Watch Live: USA U-20 v. Ecuador, World Cup quarterfinal

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The U.S. U-20 national team play Ecuador in the World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday (kick off, 11:30 a.m. ET) as Tab Ramos’ youngsters will be flying high after knocking out tournament favorites France in the last 16.

[ WATCH LIVE: USA v. Ecuador ]

A stunning second half comeback led by Sebastian Soto saw the U.S. trail 2-1 but then Ramos made two game-changing subs as Uly Llanez and Justin Rennicks made a huge difference in the 3-2 win.

Ecuador breezed past Uruguay in the last 16, with the South American nation set up well defensively but there’s no doubting that the U.S. are favorites to advance to the semifinals where they will play either South Korea or Senegal.

Click on the link above to watch the game live online, while you can also watch it on NBC Universo.

U-20 World Cup roundup: Quarterfinalists set, ranked

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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.

  1. 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.

U-20 WC roundup: Ukraine, Ecuador, Senegal advance to QF (video)

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A roundup of all of Monday’s round-of-16 action at the U-20 World Cup in Poland…

[ WOMEN’S WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Groups A, B and C | Groups D, E and F ]

Ukraine 4-1 Panama

Danylo Sikan (Mariupol) scored two of Ukraine’s four goals to send them through to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face a Colombia side that knocked off New Zealand in penalty kicks on Sunday.

Sikan opened the scoring in the 23rd minute and made it 3-0 in the 45th, bookending Denys Popov’s (Dynamo Kyiv) 41st minute tally to make it 2-0. Sikan’s first was a delightfully delicate finish inside the far post, and the second a simple finish from a cross to the near post. It was Popov’s goal that broke Panamaniam backs, though, as goalkeeper Emerson Dimas pushed an innocuous ball onto the front side of his crossbar — rather than over — to hand the defender a wide open header from two yards out.

Panama pulled a goal back through Ernesto Willis in the 50th minute, but Serhiy Buletsa (Dynamo Kyiv) restored the two-goal lead with seven minutes left to play.

Ecuador 3-1 Uruguay

Uruguay jumped out to an early lead through Ronald Araujo’s (Barcelona) close-range finish in the 11th minute, but Ecuador scored three unanswered goals to knock off the 10-man La Celeste and reach the quarterfinals, where they’ll face either France or the United States upon completion of the round of 16 on Tuesday.

The comeback began right on the half-hour mark, though, when Ecuador were awarded a penalty for perhaps the clearest shove in the back you’ll see all year. Alexander Alvarado (Aucas) converted right down the middle. Sergio Quintero (Imbabura) struck a half-volley from the edge of the box in the 75th minute to score what would ultimately be the winner, but not before Gonzalo Plata (Independiente del Valle) converted Ecuador’s second penalty of the day in the 83rd.

Senegal 2-1 Nigeria

Senegal raced out to a 2-0 halftime lead over Nigeria and held on for dear life in the second half to set up a quarterfinal showdown with either Japan or South Korea.

Amadou Sagna (Cayor Foot) made it 1-0 in the 36th minute, followed by a goal from Ibrahima Niane (Metz) to double the Lions of Teranga’s advantage just before halftime. Aniekeme Okon (Akwa United) pulled Nigeria back to within one in the 50th minute, but that’s as close as the Super Eagles would get.

Tuesday’s U-20 World Cup schedule

France v. USA — 11:30 a.m. ET
Japan v. South Korea — 11:30 a.m. ET
Argentina v. Mali — 2:30 p.m. ET